2020-21 Team: Waterloo Black Hawks
Date of Birth: Jan. 16, 2003
Place of Birth: Philadelphia, PA
Ht: 5-foot-11 Wt: 190 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 173rd (amongst NA skaters)
Matthew Argentina’s offensive numbers won’t jump off the page. In 90 games with the United States Hockey League’s (USHL) Waterloo Black Hawks over two seasons, he has just 12 goals and 30 points. While he may have struggled to find the back of the net, he managed to find the penalty box — he sat for 162 minutes. He tallied double-digit penalty minutes in six games, including one game with 19 penalty minutes, and only four fighting majors in his two seasons. Discipline is something he’ll have to work on.
RELATED: 2021 NHL Draft Guide
Despite offensive struggles in Waterloo, he found success with the 2019 US Under-17 Men’s Select Team in the Under-17 Five Nations Tournament. He represented his country well, leading American skaters with two goals and eight points. This could be a sign of his offensive potential.
One thing that Argentina has working for him is time. Going into his third season with Waterloo, he’s only 18 years old. He had a shot at winning The Masters with a minus-19 plus/minus this past season, but that can’t fully be attributed to his play. The Black Hawks had a tough season and missed playoffs, finishing at 12th in the USHL.
However, there was an individual bright spot towards the end of an otherwise disappointing team season. From Feb. 26 – March 13, he found his offensive game with a seven-game point streak, tallying five goals. He fell off after that streak, but came up with a four-assist game before the season’s end. He needs to find the momentum he had on that streak and ride it into the 2021-22 season to have a strong final year with the Black Hawks. Doing so will help make the transition to college go smoother.
Argentina is committed to Boston College for the 2022-23 season.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Matthew Argentina – 2021 NHL Draft Projection
Argentina has a lot of work to do in order to get drafted, and it may not end up being this year. In the sample size available, he hasn’t performed up to a level that would see him drafted before the mid-sixth round, if at all. He’s unproven, so it could be too much of a gamble. Unless scouts think that he’s going to have a statement, career year and want to preemptively grab his rights, this isn’t the time to draft him.
Risk – 5/5, Reward – 2/5
Having another full USHL season under his belt will help raise his draft stock, and going on to play for Jerry York at Boston College should play a big part in that. It may not be surprising to see him go undrafted until he plays a year in college at the very least. The draft following his first collegiate season would be his third year eligible.
- Physical play
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Offensive play
Argentina’s potential is determined by his physicality and willingness to buy into that role. He really needs to work on his general offensive game and consistency, but one more year in the USHL should be the extra time he needs to get ready for collegiate play.
The offense can come, but despite having “sneaky good hands,” he most likely won’t turn into a top-six player as a pro. Where he has a chance at shining is in the bottom-six. What could solidify him as a bottom-six NHLer would be his tough physical play. As long as he’s defensively responsible, he’s a player you’d want come playoff time. He’s willing to throw the body around and has the offensive potential to become a decent third line or strong fourth line checking forward.
If he buys into playing that style and understands that it may be his path to success in professional hockey, then he has a shot at role on an NHL team. However, this would take time and he’d likely see time in the AHL, or even the ECHL, if he doesn’t take significant steps forward with the Eagles. He’ll have talent around him, so he has to show that he can step up to the plate and perform.
The best way to do this is to find a niche within his team and become invaluable. He had two power play assists this past season with the Black Hawks, but where he could really look to break in is the penalty kill. He’s a decent skater and if he makes the necessary improvements, while adding another facet to his game, he could set himself up for a shot at “The Show.”
Matthew Argentina 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.