2021-22 Team: Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
Date of Birth: July 12, 2004
Place of Birth: Winnipeg, MB, CAN
Ht: 5-foot-11 Wt: 187 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 9th (among NA skaters)
- FC Hockey: 15th
- TSN/Bob McKenzie: 29th
- Dobber Prospects: 16th
- SportsNet: 22nd
- Smaht Scouting: 22nd
- Andrew Forbes’ January Rankings: 17th
- Matthew Zator’s February Rankings: 22nd
- Peter Baracchini’s March Rankings: 21
The Western Hockey League’s (WHL) Moose Jaw Warriors saw it fit to draft Denton Mateychuk 11th overall in the 2019 Bantam Draft, and are getting a fantastic return on that investment. He may not be the flashiest player, but he is a two-way, solid puck mover who is set to captain Team White at the 2022 Kubota CHL / NHL Top Prospects Game.
Related: THW 2022 NHL Draft Guide
It’s common to see Mateychuk logging a ton of ice for the Warriors, because he’s a workhorse — the fuel that powers the engine. He’s quick and eager to join the rush, and isn’t a stranger to carrying the puck over the blue line. He has the ability to carry the puck into the zone and establish control for his team. He doesn’t shy away from heading into dangerous areas, and has the vision and creativity to make a play and move the puck into those areas to open teammates, or get a shot on goal.
He has the intelligence to know that not all shots have to be looking for the back of the net, and can send wrist shots on goal with the purpose of creating a rebound for his forward corps, or allow for a deflection. He knows to keep those long-distance shots low, and look to get it through the defenders and to the net. He won’t be firing Shea Weber-esque slap shots from up high, as he holds the awareness that that’s not his game. He can then use his skating and elusiveness to work into areas he has more success shooting.
He doesn’t tend to play a passive role in defending the neutral zone. He takes an active role in breaking up passes to halt opposing rushes before they break into his zone. Then, while in his defensive zone, he has been able to obstruct passing lanes and deny with stick-on-stick plays, and also gets out there on the penalty kill.
Despite his offensive ability, he can be a bit too risky at times; opting to make difficult breakout passes or zone entries rather than take the safe option. He struggles with unforced turnovers at times, and has had a tendency to look-off his defensive partner to try and make a play himself. His puck handling could see improvement as well, he can be seen at times putting a bad touch on a pass leading to one of those aforementioned unforced turnovers.
He struggles defensively with his lack of size limiting his ability to separate bigger players from the puck. Additionally, his backward skating leaves room for improvement. He can be beaten on the outside by quicker forwards off the rush on a tight gap which could lead to odd-man rushes against.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Denton Mateychuk – NHL Draft Projection
Teams looking for an offensive boost could snag Mateychuk as early as the mid-first round. He’s been one of the top offensive defensemen in the WHL this season. However, his lack of size may see him drop to the latter half of the first round. He was ranked as an A-prospect on the NHL Central Scouting 21-22 Preliminary Players To Watch List, which projects a prospect to be a first-round candidate.
“In the 2022 NHL draft class there isn’t a player I enjoy watching more on a nightly basis than Denton Mateychuk. He is a unicorn as a defender. There isn’t an archetype that he really fits into, which makes him a polarizing player to categorize and rank. … He is at his best when the puck is on his stick, driving transitional play, and having the offense flow through him. Even if his puck handling skill drives down the effectiveness of his rush offense; his intelligence, passing ability, off-puck awareness and aggressiveness will still make him an effective offensive defensemen.” – Austin Garrett, Smaht Scouting
“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 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. I see a projected 2nd/3rd pair tweener type for that reason.” -Corey Pronman, (from, ‘The 2022 NHL Draft ranking: Pronman’s Top 32 Prospects at the midseason mark,’ The Athletic, Jan. 19, 2022)
“Mature beyond his years, he has the ability to adjust his game based on team needs, and that is typically helpful in hastening the path to the NHL.” –Sam Cosentino, Sportsnet
- Elusive skating
- Shot intelligence
- Quick release
- Passing vision and creativity
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Size and strength
- Risk taker
- Gap control consistency
He will likely need another year or two of development, whether it’s in the WHL or American Hockey League (AHL) before making an NHL roster. He has the offensive tools, but working on defensive consistency and making sure he can carry over those tools from junior to professional hockey is going to be important. He could slot into a second or third pair NHL role, providing offense from the blue line, should see power-play time, and eventually some penalty killing time. An NHL comparison would be the Philadelphia Flyers’ Ryan Ellis.
Ellis was drafted 11th overall in 2009, and had been a consistent offensive contributor for the Nashville Predators, and it’s a big reason why the Flyers traded for him. He’s been trusted to play in all situations. Once Mateychuk finds that consistency, he can be a valuable asset for any team, whether they’re trying to make a Stanley Cup run, or build for the future. He’d be able to find a home.
Risk- Reward Analysis
Risk – 2/5, Reward – 4.5 /5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 7/10, Defense – 6/10
Mateychuk was drafted 11th-overall into the WHL and won a gold medal at the 2021 U18 World Championship. He’s been named captain for Team White aat the 2022 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.
Featured on the Western Hockey League YouTube channel’s “WHL NEXT GENERATION“
Denton Mateychuk Statistics
Sean Raggio lives for hockey. He will be covering the Seattle Kraken, and is a co-host of “What’s Kraken” for THW. Sean gained experience in writing for television, print and radio while studying journalism at Quinnipiac University and being an active member in the student media organizations there. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out on Twitter! A link can be found at the bottom of his articles, such as this one.