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30 in 30: Matthias' Consistency Is Panthers' X-factor

Sunday, 08.18.2013 / 5:05 PM ET / Features
By Mike Battaglino  - NHL.com Staff Writer
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30 in 30: Matthias\' Consistency Is Panthers\' X-factor
Shawn Matthias had a tremendous March for the Florida Panthers, scoring 11 times in 16 games. If he can come close to that pace this season, it will make Florida\'s hope for a playoff run that much more viable.
Forward Shawn Matthias celebrates one of his goals against New Jersey's Martin Brodeur (Getty Images)

Shawn Matthias played in 25 different months for the Florida Panthers and scored 28 goals.

Then, this March, he scored 11.

If he can come closer to that stretch more often than he hasn't, the center will be an incredibly helpful player for a Panthers team that has craved goals for years.

"I don't want to be a passenger, I want to be a leader," Matthias said in July, after re-signing for two years. "I'm working my butt off this summer and looking forward to having a big season."

Matthias did not even have a big April, going without a goal in 12 games, but said he was playing through an injury.

"The thing a lot of people don't know is I was pretty banged up near the end of the year there," he said. "I think the key is to stay healthy, and I'm going to come to camp ready to go. … I want to be the best player on the team."

That title in the past was held by close friend and former housemate Stephen Weiss. The forward signed with the Detroit Red Wings as a free agent, leaving Matthias, at 25 years old and with 253 games, as the longest-tenured Florida player.

"He's a special guy. He's been with the team for so long and he really cared about the Panthers. … I learned a lot from him," Matthias said of Weiss. "Saying that, I want to be the guy now. He's a good guy, he's my buddy, but at the same time, I'm not too sad to see him go. I want to take on that bigger role now."

The Panthers need him to. His 14 goals last season were tied for second on the team with rookie Jonathan Huberdeau, one behind the 15 scored by Tomas Kopecky.

Florida has had one 30-goal scorer in the past five seasons (David Booth, 31, 2008-09), and newcomer Scott Gomez is the only player on the Panthers roster to have one in the NHL (33 for the New Jersey Devils in 2005-06).

Matthias' hot streak of 11 goals in 16 games equates to 56 over 82.

The 47th pick of the 2006 NHL Draft by the Detroit Red Wings, Matthias was acquired by Florida for Todd Bertuzzi in February 2007.

Matthias scored 70 goals in 117 games during his final two Ontario Hockey League seasons, but since making his NHL debut in January 2008, he had scored in back-to-back NHL games once before leaving March like a lion, with five goals in the last three games.

"He had flashes of brilliance last year, now he just has to get more consistent," general manager Dale Tallon said. "He's still young, he's big (6-foot-4, 220 pounds), he can skate, and he's going to fit into what we've got coming as far as size and speed. He fits into what the plan is."

For all 30 in 30 stories go to NHL.com/30in30stories and for the full 30 in 30 schedule visit NHL.com/30in30.

Author: Mike Battaglino | NHL.com Staff Writer

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 73 47 19 7 224 168 101
2 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
3 TBL 75 46 22 7 244 194 99
4 NYI 75 44 26 5 228 208 93
5 PIT 74 40 23 11 204 186 91
6 DET 73 39 22 12 212 201 90
7 WSH 74 40 24 10 215 182 90
8 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
9 BOS 74 36 25 13 195 193 85
10 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
11 PHI 75 30 29 16 196 216 76
12 NJD 74 31 31 12 166 189 74
13 CBJ 73 34 35 4 198 228 72
14 CAR 73 27 36 10 170 201 64
15 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
16 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Huberdeau 71 13 32 7 45
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
J. Jokinen 73 7 33 -1 40
J. Jagr 69 13 25 -4 38
B. Boyes 72 12 23 10 35
A. Ekblad 73 11 24 10 35
J. Hayes 64 18 13 -4 31
A. Barkov 63 12 17 -2 29
B. Campbell 74 3 21 1 24
B. Pirri 41 20 2 5 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 26 17 11 .922 2.32
A. Montoya 5 7 2 .888 3.08
 
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