If you have been away from Canes and Coffee, today’s ‘Back to School’ entry is already the fourth in the series. The first three were Martin Necas on Monday ,Luke Martin on Tuesday and Morgan Geekie on Wednesday.
Today’s entry in the ‘Back to School’ series stays in the Western Hockey League and checks in on forward Stelio Mattheos who plays for the Brandon Wheat Kings.
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. Stelio is a rugged power forward with an offensive took kit capable of finishing especially around the net who projects to be a 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.
Interview with David Anning, Head Coach of the Brandon Wheat Kings
About the interviewee
David Anning is entering second season as Head Coach of the Wheat Kings and 6th season overall including the role of Assistant Coach for 4 seasons. Has coached junior for 12 years, including 6 years in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League as an Assistant Coach, Head Coach and General Manager following a 4 year playing career in the MJHL. David has also been involved in several Hockey Canada events, including the U17s and U18s in various positions.
Interview on Hurricanes prospect Stelio Mattheos
Canes and Coffee: For Hurricanes fans who are just getting up to speed on Stelio Mattheos, please briefly describe his skill set and style of play.
David Anning: Stelio is as strong, right hand shot forward who has played centre and right wing for us over the past two seasons. He has very good puck skills and does an excellent job of protecting the puck. He has an excellent release and shot, capable of beating goaltenders and has a knack for scoring. He’s a hard worker who’s at his best when he plays a heavy, physical game and gets to the scoring area where his pucks skills allow him to capitalize.
Canes and Coffee: What are Stelio Mattheos’ strengths as a young player that give him the potential to one day play in the NHL?
David Anning: Stelio is very determined on and off the ice. He loves the game and puts everything he has into it. He’s always putting in extra time before and after practice and is a tireless worker off the ice. He’s physically mature and is a big body player who skates well. His size, skating, puck skills and offensive ability will allow him to develop into a pro player.
Canes and Coffee: What areas of Stelio Mattheos’ game and skill set still have room for improvement as he works to round out his game t develop into an NHL player in the future?
David Anning: As with all young players, there is room for their game to grow. Stelio is continuously working on his puck skills and his skating. He is a powerful skater and his quickness has improved over the past two seasons and his first three strides will continue to improve. His play without the puck has also improved, and his overall game will continue to develop as he grows his game.
Canes and Coffee: Is there a current or former NHL player whose style of play could be a good model for Stelio Mattheos as he continues to develop and mold his game to fill a role in the NHL?
David Anning: We feel Stelio is a strong power forward with a very good skill set. He’s someone who can win puck battles, get to the hard areas and certainly has the necessary tools to produce offensively and generate scoring chances.
Canes and Coffee: Is there anything else noteworthy about Stelio Mattheos that Carolina Hurricanes fans would be interested to know?
David Anning: Stelio is a very good student who put a lot of effort into his schooling. He has played for Hockey Canada at the U17s and U18s. He was selected 1st overall by the Wheat Kings in the bantam draft. He’s very well liked and respected by the coaching staff and all of his teammates. Regardless of age, he fits in very well with everyone in the dressing room.
Interview with Brock Ludwig from DUBNetwork
About the interviewee
Brock Ludwig Twitter=@bluds89) is a follower of the Winnipeg Jets and Brandon Wheat Kings, a University of Manitoba graduate, a full time Social Worker and a part time armchair general manager. He frequently consume too much coffee in a day, but is working on it.
Interview on Hurricanes prospect Stelio Mattheos
Canes and Coffee: For Hurricanes fans who are just getting up to speed on Stelio Mattheos after his selection in the 2017 NHL Draft, please describe his skill set and style of play. Is there a current of former NHL player whose skill set and style of play is similar to Mattheos (projecting forward a few years of course)?
Brock Ludwig: Stelio is a big, strong power forward, who possesses good skating and an impressive shot. He is difficult to knock off the puck in the corners, goes hard to the net and has the hands to finish. Mattheos is not flashy, nor is he real creative, but he works hard and does the little things well to bring success to him and his linemates. He has shown to be responsible in all 3 zones and is utilized in many different situations by the coaching staff (ie. Taking key faceoffs) – something that has gone on since his 16 year old season, on a team that won the WHL Championship. In terms of current NHL players, I would say his style of play is similar to Patrick Marleau and Mikko Koivu.
Canes and Coffee: What were the highlights of Mattheos’ 2016-17 season? In what ways did he improve as a player compared to the 2015-16 season?
Brock Ludwig: The highlights for Stelio last season would be his overall breakout campaign. 26 goals and 61 points for a 17 year old are impressive numbers and he really started to take over games near the end of the season. His confidence really showed, and he became a leader of that team, with guys like Nolan Patrick and Tanner Kaspick missing time with injuries. Although Brandon’s playoff run was short lived, Stelio was arguably one of their top 2 or 3 forwards during their first round defeat to Medicine Hat, collecting 5 points in 4 games. I would attribute his improvement from 2016 to 2017 to getting more ice time, being more comfortable in this league and playing a more physical brand of hockey. It seemed as though he really figured out last season just how difficult he is to handle for the opposing defenseman. Two things many fans got a glimpse of last year, compared to his rookie season, were how strong he is down low on the cycle and how good of a shot he has when he wants to use it.
Canes and Coffee: What are Stelio Mattheos’ strengths that give him the potential to become an NHL player? What areas of his game must improve for him to eventually reach the NHL level?
Brock Ludwig: Stelio’s strengths that give him the potential to be an NHL player someday include; strong skating, size and strength, already possesses a pro shot, strong on the cycle and in the corners, understands the game extremely well, strong work ethic, impressive in the faceoff circle and puts a lot of focus into the defensive side of the game. I think that for Stelio to eventually take that next step to the professional ranks, he is going to need to improve on his awareness and his playmaking abilities. He sometimes lacks creativity and vision with the puck and is somewhat predictable in what he is going to do when the puck is on his stick. I don’t think he is ever going to be a real flashy player, but there are many NHL players who aren’t flashy, and I certainly think Mattheos possesses enough skill and potential to make an NHL roster sometime down the road.
Canes and Coffee: What do you anticipate for Stelio Mattheos’ role and situation on the 2017-18 Brandon Wheat Kings?
Brock Ludwig: I expect Stelio Mattheos to play a key role on this 2017-2018 Brandon Wheat Kings team, as he enters his 18-year old season in the Western Hockey League. He will play on one of Brandon’s top two lines this year and should garner top power play and penalty kill minutes. He should also continue to be counted upon to take the key faceoffs and play late in the game. I expect Mattheos to be one of Brandon’s assistant captains, a physical force and a player who should be a 30+ goal guy this season. He has the potential to be an elite WHL player and has the talent around him to make that happen this season, barring any injuries.
Canes and Coffee: Is there anything else noteworthy about Mattheos that maybe has not been covered in draft profiles that might be of interest to Carolina Hurricanes fans?
Brock Ludwig: Stelio was chosen first overall in the WHL bantam draft by a strong Wheat King team who finished first in the Canadian Hockey League rankings and went on to lose to the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL finals. The reason Brandon was able to secure the 1st overall pick, and draft Mattheos, that year was because of a prior trade with the Saskatoon Blades who acquired Brenden Walker and appointed him captain of their team – a team which hosted the Memorial Cup tournament that season. Kelly McCrimmon received a first round pick from Saskatoon’s GM Lorne Molleken, in exchange for Walker. The following season, Saskatoon finished last place and won the draft lottery, before having to give the pick to Brandon from the Walker trade. The second overall pick from that draft was current Lethbridge Hurricanes forward, Jordy Bellerive, who also had an impressive sophomore year this past season.
For additional reading on Stelio Mattheos, please check out our ‘reading list’ of external articles compiled after the Hurricanes selected Mattheos in the 2017 NHL Draft.
Canes and Coffee would like to extend a huge thank you to Coach David Anning from the Brandon Wheat Kings and Brock Ludwig from DUBNetwork for generously sharing their insight on Hurricanes prospect Stelio Mattheos!