Date of Birth: Oct. 26, 2003
Place of Birth: Helsinki, Finland
Ht: 6 foot 3 Wt: 187 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 32 (Amongst EU Skaters
- FC Hockey: 83
- The Hockey Writers (Forbes): 90
- The Hockey Writers (Baracchini): 97
Big wingers who can score, carry the puck and play a physical style of hockey are always in demand. This bodes well for Miko Matikka as the 6-foot-3, 187-pound right-winger has shown a well-rounded skillset that could flourish in the NHL if his development pans out.
The first thing that jumps out about Matikka is how solid of a skater he is. Whether it’s his edge-work or his ability to accelerate quickly, his ability to skate well both with and without the puck makes him an intriguing option when developing plays through the neutral zone and in the offensive zone. Apparent injuries and ongoing restrictions due to the pandemic may have been factors, but his top speed wasn’t anything to write home about. A full offseason to train and prepare might tell a different story next season, but the tape for the scouts doesn’t show anything exciting in that department.
Matikka’s ability to put the puck in the back of the net is his top trait. Scoring will never be an underrated statistic and teams will always take notice of players who have success in this area. Couple this with the fact that he has above-average hands which make him a threat both at five-on-five and on the power play in the bumper position. His size and willingness to use it are also typically on display in the bumper position as he’s capable of generating space for either himself or his teammates while remaining in position to bury shots or facilitate fluent puck movement from the slot.
Consistency from shift to shift and game-to-game are noticeable plus traits for Matikka as well. It’s hard to find an example of the winger taking shifts off which can’t always be said about talented players in Matikka’s age group. This is true of him both with and without the puck as he remains engaged in plays and is always looking to push the pace forward rather than waiting for an opportunity to come his way.
Though he’s displayed consistency from an effort standpoint, one area that could use consistency to really bring Matikka’s game to the next level would be his hockey sense. He’s displayed solid instincts at times in the offensive zone but has also made some ill-timed or high-risk passes that can halt an offensive possession in its tracks. The good news is that a big part of development in young players consists of a coaching staff helping them learn to see the game in a more complete way. While there has to be some level of instinct already in place–and there is with Matikka, proper coaching can make a world of difference for players.
Even at the NHL level, young players often have to sit in the press box for a few games with a coach in their ear explaining why certain plays occur and how to facilitate positive outcomes while mitigating negative ones.
Related: THW 2022 Draft Guide
There isn’t a whole lot to discuss with Matikka as far as the defensive side of the game is concerned. Though he may not jump off the page as the most defensively-sound winger, his unquestioned motor and willingness to be involved in the play make up for any lapses in positioning or decision-making. He might not be a Selke Trophy finalist any time soon, but that isn’t due to a lack of effort.
Committed to playing at the University of Denver next season, Matikka will get a chance to further develop the positives in his game while simultaneously rounding out the edges.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Miko Matikka – Draft Projection
There are numerous traits that make Matikka an intriguing prospect heading into the 2022 NHL Draft. At the same time, there’s room for improvement from a hockey-sense perspective and raw skills aren’t everything. Still, the foundation is in place for the 18-year-old and he should be an attractive option for teams when the third round rolls around. A good value spot for Matikka would be anywhere from the 75-95 range. Some scouts have him ranked as a fourth-round prospect, so it will be interesting to see where he falls.
“After being the leading scorer for Jokerit’s U18 squad in 2019–2020, Matikka put together a promising first season in the U20 league even if it was cut short due to pandemic-related restrictions. A six-foot-three winger with deft hands and heavy release, Matikka will be taking his talents to the University of Denver for the 2022–2023 season.” – Lassi Alanen, EPRinkside, 2021
- Heavy shot
- Engagement with and without the puck
- Goal-scoring ability
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Hockey sense
- Top speed
Given his skillset, Matikka has the ability to be a top-six scoring forward at the NHL level. His ability to see and read plays at the higher levels will be telling, but as far as raw skill set and level of engagement coupled with his offensive production make him intriguing. He should also be a mainstay on the power play for any team that picks him up.
Risk 4/5, Reward 4.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense 8.5/10, Defense 4/10
- U16 SM-sarja silver medal with Jokerit
Miko Matikka Statistics
Brandon Share-Cohen has covered the NHL and various professional sports for seven years. Working with The Hockey Writers, Brandon works extensively on covering the Boston Bruins in addition to his role as the News Team Lead.