Carolina Hurricanes: Stelio Mattheos’ Time is Coming

Carolina Hurricanes’ prospect Stelio Mattheos will look to continue his development in the upcoming 2021-2022 season, and he has all of the tools to be an impact player for the Chicago Wolves.

What’s going on Carolina Hurricanes fans? It’s great to be back after a little over a year-long hiatus. In that spirit, I’m coming at you today with a bit of a refresher course on a prospect that, through absolutely no fault of his own, ended up on the back burner for a while.

But, we’re talking about him today! As many are likely already aware, he has a story of resiliency worth celebrating to go along with a superbly well-rounded skill set on the ice. That prospect is none other than Stelio Mattheos!

Mattheos, 22, stands 6′ 1″ and is listed at 196 pounds according to his Hockey-Reference.com profile linked above. He is a right shot, and can play at center or on his natural right wing side.

The Carolina Hurricanes originally selected Mattheos in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft in the 3rd round, 73rd overall. His selection came six picks after the selection of fellow WHL standout and current Carolina Hurricanes RFA forward, Morgan Geekie.

Anyone who’s ever spoken to me knows I’m a fan of Geekie’s, and seeing both he and Mattheos available during that third round was something. Surely you can imagine my satisfaction when the Hurricanes landed both of them. I’m glad that the team’s WHL scouts were influential enough during that particular round. Anyway, back to business.

KELOWNA, CANADA – DECEMBER 3: Stelio Mattheos #12 of the Brandon Wheat Kings warms up against the Kelowna Rockets on December 3, 2016 at Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

Mattheos has had quite the timeline since his draft day.

He has always appeared to have nice upside. He was drafted coming off of back-to-back 90-plus point seasons with the Brandon Wheat Kings. In 2017-2018, Mattheos posted 43 goals and 47 assists in 68 games played. The following season, 2018-2019, Mattheos was elected captain of the Wheat Kings, and he captain he did to the tune of 44 goals and 52 assists in 65 games.

Following the Brandon Wheat Kings 2018-2019 season, Mattheos joined the Charlotte Checkers for their eventual Calder Cup Championship push. During the playoffs, Mattheos made his presence felt in a depth role for the Checkers and posted 3 goals and 1 assist in 14 games.

Then, mere days after an electric Calder Cup title, a roadblock presented itself. Mattheos’ development was paused by an unexpected testicular cancer diagnosis. He underwent surgery and chemotherapy that summer, and came out the other side a survivor and was able to join the Carolina Hurricanes a week into their 2019-2020 training camp.

On the other side of his successful recovery, it was go-time with the Charlotte Checkers. Shortly into the 2019-2020 season; however, Mattheos faced another hurdle as he suffered a long-term lower body injury. Once again, his development had to hit the pause button.

Enter the 2020-2021 season. Mattheos has beaten cancer, and he’s recovered from his lower body injury, so it’s time for his development to pick up where it left off, right? Not quite. This time, he was a part of a Chicago Wolves team that was acting as the farm system for both the Carolina Hurricanes and the Nashville Predators. So, time and space was expectedly cut in half. He would go on to see a few games with the ECHL’s Fort Wayne Komets this past season to stay fresh.

Which brings us to present day.

We’re almost to the part where I talk about Mattheos’ hockey tool bag. I promise I’m getting there, but I needed to touch on the human aspects of his journey and resilience through adversity, first. None of us are superhuman, but we’re all capable of superhuman acts of courage. We’re all capable of inspiring others. So, kudos and all the respect in the world to you, Stelio.

Finally! We’ve reached the part where I show you the clips and explain why I’m still excited about Mattheos. I think he’s going to make the most of the final year of his Carolina Hurricanes entry-level contract, and I fully expect him to be a mainstay in the Chicago Wolves lineup. It’ll be because of simple, smart plays like the one above.

I can’t read his mind, but if I had to guess, it would be along the lines of him knowing there’s only two minutes left in regulation and to just get to the net at all costs. He does just that, and bangs home the go-ahead goal off a rebound.

Stelio Mattheos thinks the game of hockey very well, and that’s why I think he’s going to have a big year for Chicago at both ends of the ice. Another thing that stands out about his game is his skating ability, both his acceleration and top speed.

They are the driving force behind his high motor, and he turns that motor into very steady two-way play. We all know how much Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour loves two-way excellence, hard work, and whatever other word you want to insert here. And to cap it off, Mattheos has himself a nice little wrist shot to compliment. The clip below sums his game up to a tee.

You can skip to about 25 seconds in because that’s where the Mattheos clip begins. Note the high motor, the tenacity on the puck carrier, the takeaway and the finish with the aforementioned wrist shot. I mean, what an absolutely gorgeous solo effort from the kid! Jason Shaya had no idea how to call it so he just screamed. That’s how good it was.

There aren’t a whole lot of minuses to consider when talking about Mattheos’ game. If anything, he’s not the most creative player. He’s not a pure sniper, nor a dazzling playmaker. He makes up for that by doing a lot of other things really well. Also, let’s not forget that he captained the Brandon Wheat Kings. He’s a gold standard “lead by example” type.

My final few thoughts on him are that he seems like a Brind’Amour type of guy, and that his ceiling is probably, at it highest, 3rd line NHL. I hope he suits up for the Carolina Hurricanes at some point this coming season. Until then, Chicago is the perfect place for him to continue growing.

Chicago Wolves coach, Ryan Warsofsky, is going to do brilliantly in helping Mattheos reach his potential. With the Carolina Hurricanes and Chicago Wolves having exclusive partnership going forward, the opportunities will be plentiful.

Stelio Mattheos is a player in the Carolina Hurricanes pipeline that I’ve been eagerly waiting for things to go right for him. His time to shine is coming this fall, and this is everyone’s reminder not to sleep on him.