The first western stop for Canes and Coffee’s “Midterms” series featured forward Morgan Geekie with the Tri-City Americans. Today’s stop stays in the Western Hockey League and checks in on Brandon Wheat Kings forward Stelio Mattheos.
Stelio Mattheos is one of two WHL forwards (Morgan Geekie was the other) selected by the Carolina Hurricanes in the third round of the 2017 NHL Draft. Mattheos is a rugged power forward with an offensive tool kit capable of finishing especially around the net. Mattheos projects to be a power forward and capable two-way player at higher levels. In 2016-17, he doubled his previous season point total and finished with 26 goals and 35 assists in 69 games. He returns to the Brandon Wheat Kings for the 2017-18 season.
Interview with Perry Bergson from The Brandon Sun
About the interviewee
Perry Bergson (Twitter=@PerryBergson) is a sports writer at The Brandon Sun who covers the Brandon Wheat Kings and also baseball. He has covered the Brandon Wheat Kings for Mattheos’ entire junior career. While most of his articles are behind the newspaper’s paywall, you can sometimes find his articles on the team’s website.
Perry Bergson’s articles on Stelio Mattheos include an early glimpse into Mattheos’ WHL career back in 2015 and an update just before Mattheos was selected by the Hurricanes in the 2017 NHL Draft.
Interview on Stelio Mattheos
Canes and Coffee: Can you please summarize Stelio Mattheos’ 2017-18 season thus far.
Perry Bergson: After saying in Chicago following the draft that he was out to prove 30 teams wrong for leaving him into the third round, Mattheos has blossomed in his third season into a bona fide Western Hockey League star. In 54 games, he leads the Brandon Wheat Kings with 36 goals, eight of them game winners and four of them short-handed. In his third season in the WHL, he’s taken on more of a leadership role and has become the trigger man on the power play, scoring 14 goals with his quick and accurate one-timer.
Canes and Coffee: What stands out about Stelio Mattheos’ game in terms of improvement or advancement during the 2017-18 season as compared to last season?
Perry Bergson: Mattheos entered the league as a highly touted 16-year-old who was taken first overall in the WHL’s 2014 bantam player draft. He found a role in his rookie season on the team’s checking line — a somewhat unusual assignment for a player that young — but thrived as the Wheat Kings went on to win a WHL championship. He scored 13 goals that season, a number that would double to 26 a year later. His 10 penalty minutes in his rookie season became 59 in his second season as he began to bring a physical edge to his game. This season, everything has improved. With another year in the league, he’s shown increased confidence in every zone and the ability to score clutch goals. He’s also sharpened his physical presence and is not afraid to throw round his six-foot-one, 200-pound frame. He has 60 penalty minutes this season.
Canes and Coffee: As you evaluate Stelio Mattheos’ as a potential future NHL player, what areas of his game project to that level? What areas of his game still show the most room for improvement in terms of ultimately reaching that level?
Perry Bergson: It’s very seldom that a junior player turns pro without needing additional work on the defensive side of the puck, and every player can add more speed to their game. But based on the giant steps he has taken each year during his first three seasons in the WHL, it’s difficult not to project Mattheos as a solid prospect for the Hurricanes when he turns pro, likely in his 20-year-old season.
Canes and Coffee: Stelio Mattheos will have had a strong second half of the 2017-18 season if he ____
Perry Bergson: …can continue to lead the Wheat Kings with his clutch play that has seen him deliver 26.6 per cent of the team’s winning goals.
Canes and Coffee: Is there anything else about Stelio Mattheos’ 2017-18 season that is not covered in the questions above that would be of interest to Carolina Hurricanes fans tracking his development from afar?
Perry Bergson: Right-handed shot … Originally from Winnipeg … Has Greek heritage …Had an 11-game scoring streak from December 2 to 31, scoring nine goals and adding 11 assists … Had an eight-game scoring streak from November 11 to 29, scoring nine goals and adding four assists … Has scored more than once in a game seven times this season, including his first WHL hat trick in a 4-3 victory over the Red Deer Rebels on February 3 that saw him snipe the overtime winner … Shares a June 14 birthday with former Hurricane Sami Kapanen … Played midget hockey against fellow Carolina third-rounder Morgan Geekie of Strathclair, which is located north of Brandon, and the two became friends at the NHL Combine.
Canes and Coffee would like to extend a huge thank you to Perry Bergson from The Brandon Sun for generously sharing his ‘from the rink’ insight on Hurricanes prospect Stelio Mattheos.