Name: Nick Mattson
09-10 team: Indiana Ice(USHL)
09-10 stats: 51 games, 5 goals, 14 assists, 19 points
Nick Mattson first started drawing attention when he was the only Minnesota-born player to accept an invitation to play for the US NTDP out of the 1991 age group. He was heavily recruited by the WCHA's top programs, including North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, before finally deciding on the University of North Dakota.
After a bit of a slow start while adjusting to the program, Mattson finished with two nice years at the NTDP, including capping off his final year with a gold medal at the World U18 championships. Because he was a late '91 birthdate, Mattson had aged out of the NTDP program, but still needed another year of high school before he could play college hockey. He spent last season with the Indiana Ice of the USHL, and could head to North Dakota next season, or play another year in the USHL.
Mattson doesn't possess prototypical size, but he is a solid skater, and has amazing vision on the ice, which makes him a superb passer. He doesn't put up a ton of points, and really doesn't stand out in any particular area, but is a solid overall hockey player.
Links of Interest:
Puck Dreams-Minneapolis Star-Tribune-March 2008
Mattson Talks About Win Over Canada-Grand Forks Herald-April 2009
Q&A with Nick Mattson-McKeen's Hockey-March 2010
2010 Prospects: Nick Mattson-Hockey's Future-April 2010
Mattson to Sioux-November 2007
September 22, 2008: "Nick Mattson: Not the most physically gifted, but sees the ice unbelievably well and made some incredible passes. It's fun to see him get the puck on his stick just to see what he'll do with it. Draft Stock: He'll be in the 2010 draft. He's not a definite first round pick, but should be drafted somewhere in the first day."
Mattson is a kid that sometimes gets unfairly maligned for some of the hype that was thrown at him at an early age. There's some sense out there that he's dropped quite a bit over the past couple of years, which really isn't the case. He may have been one of the 30 or so prospects for this year's draft that people could have named three years ago, but he never really had that high-end potential or physical gifts to be considered a first round pick.
He's a very smart, solid player, that should make an excellent college hockey player, but the lack of upside will probably push him down to the 4th round or later in the draft.