Sunday, May 29, 2011

E-Mac's 2011 NHL Entry Draft Top 120: Matthew Nieto #48

By Eldon MacDonald

48. Matthew Nieto - “Mr. Game Breaker” - LW - USA

Vitals: Size - 5’11”, 183 lb.; Shoots left; Born 5-Nov-92 - Long Beach, CA
Team: Boston University, Hockey East
2010-11: Stats: 39-10-13-23-16-(-1)

42 - The Hockey News per TSN
43 - The Scouting Report's Top 100 Skaters
44 - Cory Pronman's Top 100
44 - Kirk Luedeke's Top 50
48 - E-Mac's 2011 NHL Entry Draft Top 120
53 - Bob MacKenzie's June Poll of Scouts
53 - hfboards Readers’ Poll
53 - Future Considerations Final Rankings
54 - NHL Central Scouting's Final Rankings (43rd North American skater)
54 - Christopher Ralph's Top 210
56 - ISS per TSN
Draft result:
47 - San Jose Sharks

Sure Matthew Nieto was a rookie (freshman) at Boston University this year but his resume is already longer than most seniors. Starting with a plastic hockey stick at age 3 (thanks, Gramps), this southern California kid has done it all. He has already toured the world with the USA NDP program and won two U18 gold medals in the process (2009 and 2010). He was a point a game man with the U17’s in 2008-09 and again with the U18’s in 2009-10. So it may have been a little shock to the system when he struggled a bit early in the year. However, by the end of the year Matthew had made the necessary adjustments to his game and helped take Boston University to the Hockey East quarterfinals against Northeastern.

What type of player is Matthew Nieto??? The first phrase that comes to mind is “game breaker”. He has an explosion in his skating like a quarter horse out of the starting gate. And he has a passing gear that you only find in cars you can’t afford. He also has the vision, the agility and the hands to make those moves that make defenders look silly. In addition, he competes hard for the puck and is money around the net.

What are the downsides to Matthew Nieto??? First, he is only of modest size and showed some of the effects of that in adjusting to College Hockey. Second, he has consistency and compete issues away from the puck so he either makes it as top 6 or not at all - game breaker or heart breaker, that is the question.

Where will Matthew Nieto go in the draft??? I am betting that more than one team will agree with me and take this guy as a game breaker - early to mid second.


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