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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
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 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
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