Our midterm check in on Carolina Hurricanes prospects below the AHL started earlier this week with an update last week on Hurricanes prospect and Boston College player David Cotton that you can find HERE.
Quick background on Matt Filipe
Matt Filipe is a power forward who was 1 of the Carolina Hurricanes’ third round picks in the 2016 NHL draft. Filipe is in the middle of his freshman season at Northeastern University.
Also, if you missed them or want a refresher, here are 2 more articles on today’s prospect, Matt Filipe from Northeastern University.
Our BACK TO SCHOOL check in on Filipe in early September included short interviews with Filipe’s USHL coach from 2015-16 and also pre-arrival thoughts from Northeastern
Prior to that our ‘Reading List’ article for Filipe from just after the NHL draft includes links to 5 articles about Filipe pre-draft.
Check in on Matt Filipe’s freshman season at Northeastern University with Mike Downie from the Northeastern Hockey Blog
Mike Downie covers Northeastern University Huskies hockey for the Northeastern Hockey Blog (Twitter=@NUHockeyBlog) which provides high-end insight, opinions, and news regarding the Northeastern Men’s Hockey program.
Canes and Coffee: What were your first impressions of freshman Matt Filipe after seeing him in his first few games in a Northeastern Huskies uniform this past fall?
Mike Downie from Northeastern Hockey Blog: Matt Filipe had a bit of a slow start to his collegiate career before coming into his own, which we’ll delve further into in a bit. The adjustment period was not remotely unexpected, as he’s one of the relatively rare 18 year old “true” freshmen playing college hockey and he plays a big power forward role. As a result, his age works against him when he faces off against players who can be up to 24 years old.
But now, just four months into his freshman season, Filipe is already figuring out how to succeed in spite of his age. He’s the kind of player who is going to get a lot of long-term growth from going through the steep learning curve now and becoming a better hockey player rather than dominating the CHL as a 6’2 197 lb 18 year old then having to adapt later. His season thus far has been similar to the ones that Charlie Coyle and Kevin Hayes posted in their freshman seasons, and they both became phenomenal players as a result of their experience.
Canes and Coffee: What is Matt Filipe’s current role on the team?
Mike Downie from Northeastern Hockey Blog: Northeastern has been battling a rash of injuries to top nine forwards this season. As a result, Filipe is one of a few players who have been bouncing around anywhere from the first to third line depending on who is available that night. He’s gotten some time as a member of the Huskies’ second power play unit, though not as a mainstay, and has one goal and one assist while working with a man advantage thus far in the season.
For the majority of the year, he’s on the third line playing with two seniors (when healthy), Sam Kurker and Hurricanes draft pick Brendan Collier. Collier and Kurker have both been disappointing this season, with three goals and ten points combined as many around the program expected them to step up and post big senior seasons, which has limited Filipe’s potential to post big numbers offensively.
However, he’s recently gotten time playing on the first line with Huskies’ captain John Stevens and the NCAA’s leading goal scorer Zach Aston-Reese. The Huskies’ first line has always been known for their physicality, playing a hard cycle game, and scoring at the end of long, hard-working shifts while keeping the puck hemmed in the offensive zone, a style that fits Filipe. His game immediately jumped up to another level when he was paired with them, and his most recent game was likely his best thus far in his young career.
“Filipe was a force in all three zones, hit a post early in the first, drew multiple penalties, played a great cycle game with ZAR and Stevens, and on a penalty kill skated the puck out himself, and got the puck deep in the UNH zone while fighting off multiple UNH players. He also has shown a serious edge in recent games, playing physical while staying out of the penalty box. He is someone that will continue to blossom into a bonafide power forward and pro prospect, and should continue his emergence as the season progresses.” -NU Hockey Blog
Canes and Coffee: Through just over half of the 2016-17 season, how would you summarize and describe Matt Filipe’s play and accomplishments thus far at the college level?
Mike Downie from Northeastern Hockey Blog: Matt Filipe has a 3-4-7 line for Northeastern through his first 22 collegiate games, with his contributions primarily coming right in front of the net, whether he’s camped out there finding a loose puck or making a pass into the crease for a linemate to finish. While Filipe’s 7 points are a bit short of the scoring prowess you would hope to see, it’s worth noting that NU has scored just 7 even strength goals with Filipe on the ice, while allowing 5. His 5 goals against are far and away the best among everyday players for NU, with no other top nine forward allowing less than 17 goals on the year. Which is a long way of saying, Filipe has been extremely effective at goal prevention (on a weak defensive team that on average allows nearly 4 goals a game) and when his line does score, he’s almost always involved. His scoring defense is even more impressive considering his usual linemates and their relative inability to keep the puck out of the Huskies’ defensive zone.
Canes and Coffee: What jumps out about Matt Filipe’s game that projects to be NHL caliber? What areas do you see for improvement at this early stage of his development?
Mike Downie from Northeastern Hockey Blog: He’s been playing as a power forward on the wing but still shown the ability to create a goal by blowing past the defense or by winning a net battle and getting into position in the crease. His passing has been good in the same situations, breaking in and finding players in front of the net. Filipe is young, even among typical NU freshmen, and the coaching staff had originally planned for him to play another year in the USHL before enrolling, but he has brought in late to fill a hole when player signed with an NHL team. He certainly might have benefited from the extra year to develop offensively, however, he’s been improving as the season has gone on and there’s a bit of a buzz around his recent play as he posted a three game point streak to end 2016 and start 2017, not to mention the game we profiled above. Many fans are just waiting for the game he breaks out, puts up 3-4 points, and announces his arrival. That development path would be familiar to NU, as last year, freshman and Canucks’ fifth round pick Adam Gaudette posted a five point first half then broke out for 25 points in the second half while playing in the middle six.
Matt Filipe video highlights
Canes and Coffee would like to extend a HUGE thank you to Mike Downie and the Northeastern Hockey Blog for their help keeping Hurricanes’ fans updated on Matt Filipe straight from the rink in Boston.