First it was Boston University's Charlie Coyle leaving for Saint John. Then it was Cam Reid leaving St. Cloud for Portland. Recent collegiate defections to the CHL have some people on edge and ready to believe any small suggestion that might point to another seemingly NCAA-bound player choosing his other option and heading to major junior.
The Moncton Wildcats traded impact defenceman Brandon Gormley to the Memorial Cup host Shawinigan Cataractes last week, before the QMJHL deadline, and got a pretty good return. 6 draft picks, including a 1st in the 2013 CHL Import draft, and the rights to defenceman Michael Matheson.
Yes, the same Michael Matheson who is eligible for the 2012 NHL draft this June and has been one of the players blogging for The Pipeline Show this year from his current home with the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL.
So will the defenceman leave the Fighting Saints and report to Moncton? More after the jump...
First off, CHL teams can't add players now because the January 10th deadline has come and gone. The rare possibility exists in the case of Brett Connolly who could be assigned back to the WHL by the Tampa Bay Lightning which needs to happen before the NHL's trade deadline on February 27th.
Also, several CHL GMs have also told me that if Matheson had been released prior to Janaury 10th and had not played any games since then, he'd be eligible but that's not the case either.
So the absolute earliest Matheson could play for Moncton is next season.
As for Matheson, it will definitely be interesting to see how this plays out. His brother, Kenny Matheson, is no longer with the Dubuque having returned to play for Brockville in the CCHL where he played last year. Dubuque made that "trade" announcement about 10 days ago and the rumors regarding Michael's future with the team began right away.
The 17-year-old from Quebec, 18 in late February, has declared Boston College as his program of choice should he ultimately decide that he wants to go down the NCAA path. His major junior option just changed from Shawinigan to Moncton but it's unknown whether that makes much of a difference to him.
Considering the Cataractes are hosting the Memorial Cup this year and being a part of a team that does so means playing until the end of May, it would seem to me that if he was going to play in the QMJHL, this was the year for him to do it.
Suffice to say I contacted Michael and asked him to comment on the record about his situation.
"I'm still focused on finishing my year with Dubuque and then heading to [Boston College]," Matheson told TPS, "I still want to make sure I don't absolutely close any doors but I'm excited and happy that I'm where I am and headed to BC."
It would stand to reason that this is a decision that he'll make this summer, after the NHL draft and he's had a chance to consult with the club that selects him. He'll take their feedback, if given any, and make the final choice with his family. If he then decides to continue on to play for Jerry York and the Eagles then great and if he opts for Danny Flynn and the Wildcats, that's not exactly a bad decision either. It should be noted that Boston College lost recruit Brandon Shea to the Wildcats last summer.
Half of The Pipeline Show will be in attendance for the inaugural USHL Top Prospects Game which will be held in Muskegon Michigan on January 24th. We'll be chatting with all of the key 2012 eligible prospects involved in that game including Matheson.
And, according to the player, you can expect the next chapter in his season-long blog here at Coming Down the Pipe shortly after that marquee event as well.
(Photos: Jim Naprstek, Dubuque Fighting Saints)