It’s that time of year again! We’re less than a month away from the first round of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, on Thursday, July 7. The Columbus Blue Jackets will be picking at #6 and #12.
Team: Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
Date of Birth: July 12, 2004
Birthplace: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Ranked #15 by CONSOLIDATED RANKING
Ranked #8 by ELITEPROSPECTS.COM
Ranked #17 by FCHOCKEY
Ranked #24 by TSN/BOB McKENZIE
Ranked #17 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #24 by TSN/CRAIG BUTTON
Ranked #14 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)
Ranked #16 by SPORTSNET
Ranked #21 by ISS HOCKEY
Ranked #24 by RECRUIT SCOUTING
Ranked #8 by DOBBERPROSPECTS
Ranked #21 by DRAFT PROSPECTS HOCKEY
Ranked #16 by SMAHT SCOUTING
Ranked #17 by THE PUCK AUTHORITY
Games Played: 65
Denton Mateychuk is clearly in the second tier of defenseman that will be selected in the first round of next weeks’ NHL Entry Draft. Both David Jiricek and Simon Nemec are consistently ranked above him in the top 5 of the draft, while Mateychuk is sort of all over the board. I’ve seen him ranked as high as #8 and as low #24, so scouts are clearly mixed in their opinions of him. If Jarmo goes forward at #6, there is definitely an outside shot that Mateychuk could be the pick at #12.
He is a two-way defenseman, but loves to contribute on offense and join the rush, often leading the attack. His skating is one of his best attributes, and he is considered one of better skaters in this draft. His high motor and hockey-IQ are often praised, but the former can get him into trouble. Occasionally, Mateychuk will try to do too much with the puck, relying on his skill and speed to try and make plays all on his own, taking unnecessary risks leading to turnovers.
I personally don’t like to make a big deal about size, but some think his size could be a detriment at the NHL level unless he can get a little bigger and stronger. Defensive struggles against bigger players have been noted, so the need to get stronger will only be more evident at a higher level.
Mateychuk is a really intriguing prospect, and he fits the mold of the “modern” two-way defenseman. Stylistically, I’m talking Makar, Q. Hughes, and our own Zach Werenski. His coach in junior allowed Mateychuk tons of freedom, and he played a “rover” style role like Z has been known to do. I would think if Kekalainen wanted to draft Denton Mateychuk, it would definitely mean the eventual departure of either Adam Boqvist or Jake Bean. That being said, Mateychuk is one of the younger players in the draft and is likely a few years away from taking the next step, so there is time for his game and body to mature prior to debuting in the NHL.
Mateychuk is an undersized but dynamic defenseman. His skating pops, showing very quick feet that can easily transition pucks up ice with speed or evade pressure easily. Mateychuk attacks with the puck using his skill, skating and vision, making him a threat off the rush and blue line to create chances He can play with pace, but can also make passes off the point and use his hard shot to create offense. He defends well in the WHL due to his feet but at 5-foot-11 the concern for scouts is how well he’ll be able to check in the NHL. It’s a reasonable concern but I think he’s so talented and the skating is so good that he will find a way to succeed and become a top-four defenseman. - Corey Pronman, The Athletic
Mateychuk’s potential is sky-high. He could become a number one defenceman for his team, helping them to control possession and even-strength and quarterbacking the top power-play unit. While he is a bit undersized, his skating and intelligence more than makeup for it. Expect Mateychuk to spend another year or two in junior before he is NHL ready though. A July Birthday, he is also one of the younger players in the draft, so there is some hope that he will continue to grow another inch or two. He can also add muscle to his frame before he is ready for the pro game. His game is reminiscent of Quinn Hughes. This is a stylistic comparison only though and not one based on skill and ability. - Ben Kerr, Last Word on Sports
Offensively, he is constantly involving himself in the play in some fashion. With the puck, he is looking to push the play, and drive the puck towards more dangerous areas on the ice. He’ll carry the puck deeper into the offensive zone, trying to find a passing lane into the slot or just carry it there himself. Without the puck he’ll move all over the ice, frequently off the blueline, to present a passing option in a more dangerous position. - Pension Plan Puppets