|5’11”||170||Mar 10, 2004||C||Right||12th – 2020||A Prospect November||Canada|
|2020-2021||OHL||DID NOT PLAY||0||0||0||0||0|
The missed season of 2020-2021 didn’t prevent NHL Central Scouting from ranking Guelph Storm’s Matthew Poitras as an A Prospect on their preliminary rankings. An A ranking is reserved for potential first round picks and Poitras was just one of two Ontario Hockey League players with an A ranking. Now, this is just my opinion, and it is early, but that will likely change mainly because there were no eyes on the OHL last season because of the pandemic. Well, there was no season.
Don’t be fooled by the lack of production so far in this OHL season. There is so much to like about Poitras’ game and sooner or later he is going to break out.
One of the first things you’ll notice about Poitras is his work ethic. He has an internal engine that just will not stop or pause. His ‘I will not be outworked’ mentality is hard to match. He goes into every battle with sheer determination and a will to win. That bodes well for Poitras, but he isn’t without talent.
Poitras is an excellent skater with very good speed, excellent mobility and superb edgework. With the puck on his stick, he has a ‘computer processor between the ears’ able to survey the ice with his excellent vision and make decisions in the blink of an eye. But he is also able to buy time and space for his teammates by maintaining possession be simply beating the opposition with his shiftiness to create space. To put it simply, he makes everyone around him better.
While Poitras is first and foremost a playmaker, he will not shy away from taking the shot if he deems it to be the best opportunity for his team. He puts a lot into his shot and he can get it off quickly and on target, but that’s not to say his accuracy isn’t a work in progress. While getting it on the 4 x 6-foot cage is a plus, too many times it’s in the goaltender’s chest and easily absorbed. Improving on his accuracy will allow him to pick holes in the goaltender. But it’s not just about picking corners. Shooting with a purpose, low and along the ice and into the pads for example, to create second chance opportunities via rebounds or dirty goals via goal mouth scrambles would be a benefit.
Known for being a two-way pivot, let’s start with the good. When Poitras gets the puck on his stick in his own zone, it’s one-and-done for the opposition. He transitions to offense as quick as anyone and he usually takes it right into the offensive zone.
Poitras has shown that he is also capable of breaking up plays with his stick and turning the other way. However, he doesn’t show consistency while defending. That is something to watch for as the becomes more accustomed to the OHL – seeing improvement as the season progresses. His positioning and play without the puck is kind of sporadic.
I think Poitras will top out as a second line center at the NHL level if he puts all the pieces together. He is definitely worth keeping an eye on as the season moves forward.
I wouldn’t bet against him.