Mateychuk in no rush to make it into the NHL

COLUMBUS – Although Denton Mateychuk was thrilled after being picked 12th overall in the 2022 draft, he understands that this is just the beginning of his NHL journey.

Mateychuk hadn’t even turned 18 yet – he blew out the candles on his cake five days later – when he heard his name being mentioned on July 7. He will therefore return to the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League in 2022-23.

« I want to be ready when I make the jump to the NHL, and time will tell when the time is right, whether it’s next year or whenever, » he said. I will continue to work to achieve this.

“It’s something I’ve always dreamed of. A few years ago I didn’t think it would actually happen, but eventually it became a goal. When I heard my name, I had lots of memories of my journey to get here, but in the end, that’s just the beginning. »

Mateychuk was the second defenseman to be drafted by the Blue Jackets after David Jiricekat the sixth level.

« We always talk about the ‘best player available’, well those guys were the best guys at the time in our opinion, » Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. It’s our philosophy, and I think we got our hands on two really good defenders. You can never have enough. »

With Jiricek expected to get the chance to start in the NHL this season, there’s no rush for Mateychuk, who had 64 points in 65 games last year and was ranked 14th among North American prospects by the Bureau. screening centre.

He’s known for his skating, but his stature (5-foot-11, 188 pounds) has some doubting whether he’ll be able to endure the game in that position.

« I’ve heard that many times this year, » Mateychuk said. It’s something you don’t control. You do what you can on the ice, and that’s what I did. What I bring with my game is my hockey sense and my skating skills. I think I have a good first pass, which helps out of the zone.

“I grew up watching guys like Kris Letang, Charlie McAvoy, Josh Morrissey. I like to watch Hold Makar because he is an incredible player. He’s one of those guys who does everything on the ice. It’s a bit similar to my way of playing. »

Mateychuk comes from a family of athletes, and he believes he inherited his skating ability from his mother, Keela, a former figure skater.

His older brother Maddux plays baseball at Campbellsville University, Kentucky, while his younger brothers Kasen and Crosby and younger sister Brylee play hockey in their hometown of Dominion City, Manitoba.

Kasen was a Blue Jackets fan long before the team drafted his brother.

“Every time we played video games, he would take the Blue Jackets. So I suffered defeat against them a few times,” Mateychuk smiled.

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