When the New York Islanders traded Michael Grabner to the Toronto Maple Leafs they got a slew of prospects. Meet the second of the group at number 18: Matthew Finn.
Matthew Finn was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second round of the 2012 entry draft. Taken number 35 out of Guelph, the defender was rated as high as 16th amongst North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting in his draft year.
Finn ended his draft year with an impressive 48 point campaign with his Guelph Storm of the OHL. Good enough for Toronto to take him at 35.
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But Finn, just like teammate Verhaeghe, hasn’t been able to push into that higher echelon of the AHL and into the NHL. He’s got most of the tools to push ahead.
He can help on the offensive side of the game, at least at the OHL level with 161 points in 228 games. He’s tough, he puts in a full effort, and he’s got a bit of a mean side.
Skating & Depth
So what’s holding him back!? The biggest knock against Finn is his skating. You know that most predominant of skills for the game of hockey?
Finn has been dogged his entire career for his sub-par skating skills. He wasn’t the greatest player leading up to his draft year in 2012. It didn’t come to him in his few years in the Maple Leafs system. And is still hasn’t come to him four years later.
Maybe in training camp, we’ll finally see Finn show some positive…strides in the skating department. (It was a pun I had to make).
But even if he does, he’s got a number of other defensive prospects ahead of him on the pecking order. We’ve already seen three other defensive prospects in this countdown that are direct competition to Finn; Jesse Graham, Loic Leduc, and Kyle Burroughs.
That’s just the other options directly competing for an AHL spot, let alone all the other young and highly skilled defenseman competing for an NHL spot. But with an improvement to his skating game will drastically alter his position on the Islanders defensive depth chart.