Weight: 210 pounds
Date of birth: December 26, 1999
Hometown: Milton, Ontario
OHL Draft: Round 3, 55th overall, 2015 Priority Selection (Owen Sound Attack)
As the captain of the minor midget Halton Hurricanes during the 2014-2015 season, Matthew Struthers provided the Canes with 20 goals and 20 assists in 36 games. He added a goal and an assist for the Canes in 4 games at the OHL Cup. And he represented Team OMHA White at the OHL Gold Cup scoring 2 goals and adding 3 assists in 5 games.
The Owen Sound Attack would select Struthers with the 55th overall pick at the 2015 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection.
During his 2015-2016 rookie season, Struthers would score 5 goals and 8 assists in 47 games. He would win a gold medal with Team Canada White at the 2016 World Hockey Challenge Under-17 scoring once and add an assist in 6 games.
During his second season with the Attack, Struthers would appear in 66 games in which he scored 10 goals while assisting on 9 others. He would add 2 goals and 3 assists in 17 playoff games.
This season Struthers’ offense wasn’t really where it should have been after scoring 9 goals and 9 assists for the Attack despite being named our draft eligible player of the month in September. On January 3, 2018, the North Bay Battalion came calling and acquired Struthers and picks in a deal for Brett McKenzie.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Since being acquired by the Battalion, Struthers has averaged a point-per-game on 8 goals and 10 assists. With the exception of a 4-game pointless streak, he’s been a model of consistency putting up points in 11 of the remaining 14 games.
So, what does Struthers bring to the table?
Well, for beginners, at 6’2” he has pretty good size. I don’t project Struthers to be an offensive stalwart at the next level, but more a bottom-six forward who plays hard on pucks drives the net and will park himself there and will end up being a decent faceoff guy.
Struthers has a long, powerful stride in his skating and is extremely strong on his skates. But he lacks an explosiveness in his first few strides and really doesn’t possess a separation gear. So, he relies on his hockey smarts and very good vision to make plays or to put pucks in areas where his teammates are more likely to retrieve them. His passing is slightly underrated and most of his goals will come from going to those dirty areas.
Scouts will like Struthers because of his size and because he plays the game the right way in all three zones, with or without the puck. He plays hard down low at both ends and wins more battles than not for pucks. His defensive awareness is pretty high and positioning excellent- exactly what you’d expect from a Stan Butler coached team.
Struthers was ranked as a C prospect on NHL Central Scouting’s Players to Watch List. A C prospect is typically a 4th, 5th or 6th round candidate. On their mid-term rankings, Struthers was ranked 108th among North American Skaters.
Struthers is the highest ranked Battalion, ahead of draft re-entry candidates Justin Brazeau, Luke Burghardt and Adam Thilander.