Monday, July 25, 2011

Matia Marcantuoni

Matia Marcantuoni - Kitchener Rangers

6'0" - 190 LBS
D.O.B. February 22, 1994

Matia Marcantuoni in four words? Speed, and more speed.

The first rounder (18th overall) was Captain of Team Ontario at the World U17 hockey challenge and potted 2 goals and added 4 assists in 6 games in helping his squad capture the gold medal.

During  2010-11, his rookie season with the Rangers, he played in 42 games scoring 11 goals and adding 16 assists. Pretty good numbers considering he was playing behind the likes of Gabriel Landeskog, Jason Akeson, Jerry D'Amigo and more. And with most of those guys moving up the ladder, it will become Marcantuoni's time to shine in 2011-12.

Make no mistake, he is capable of racking up numbers. In 2009-10 playing for Toronto Marlies Midget AAA he posted 39 goals and 33 assists in 79 games. All this has earned Marcantuoni an invite to Team Canada's Under 18 Selection Camp in Calgary this summer for the Ivan Hlinka Tournament.

Marcantuoni's tremendous skating and speed enables him to get in on the forecheck where he is not afraid to mix it up along the boards and more often than not, beats bigger opponents in battles. He possesses keen vision and is able to get pucks through seams to teammates. He's also not afraid to take it straight to the net if he has no other options.

Today's NHL requires it's forwards to play defence as well. And Marcantuoni is ahead of most players in the 2012 draft class. His speed enables him to get back on the backcheck, a key in today's game. And he accomplishes it whether he is playing center or on the wing.

Marcantuoni also made the NHL's Central Scouting list of 2012 players to watch list.

We spoke with Kitchener Rangers broadcast analyst for 570 News Mike Farewell for his thoughts on Marcantuoni's game:

"The first thing you notice about this kid is his speed (obviously). He stood out as a very bright light from last year's rookie camp and when it came to the regular season he gave you the sense that once his hands/head caught up to his feet, he'd be dynamite. He reminded a lot of people of former Ranger Alex Aleardi in that way....only MM is much taller. But the same was always said about Aleardi...his feet seemed to be ahead of his brain and he'd lose the puck before being able to do something magical with it. For MM, it's only a matter of time before that develops."

Mike added "Matia is a true gentleman off the ice. He carries himself with incredible poise for someone his age and he works hard away from the evidenced by his relatively quick return from his ankle injury. His time at the U17's did wonders for his confidence and he came back a different player. His future appears quite bright."

He continued "The off-ice story that stands out the most for me comes from the time he spent out of the line-up with his injury. As you probably remember, Matia injured the ankle by making what quickly became his trademark rush -- bursting down the right wing and cutting hard to the net. That's exactly what he did when he collided with Guelph's goalie and the net...and he spent the next six weeks healing. But he also kept himself around the team, sharing meals, etc. And it was at one of those meals Matia and I got to talking about his injury and his recovery and I asked if he'd think twice before going that hard to the net again. Without hesitation, he said "no way. I'll go even harder next time." I think that speaks to his dedication to the game and his commitment to winning. As his recovery progressed, I watched Matia stay on the ice after practice to do skating drills under the watchful eye of the training staff. He was dedicated to coming back quickly."

Mike couldn't resist throwing a little tease in there, "Don Cameron and I like to tease him about being one of the best dressed players on road trips. Between MM and Julian Melchiori, it's hard to tell who has the better fashion sense sometimes. Matia takes it all in stride and seems to enjoy the banter."

If you can get to the Aud and watch Marcantuoni play, I say you won't regret it.

You can follow Mike on Twitter   or Matia 

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