Matthew Peca Will Get Chance to Shine as Metros 2nd-Line Centerby Chris Baker | October 4, 2018, 8:49 AM ET
Nobody on the Toronto Metropolitans has more pressure on them following the free agency departure of veteran Henrik Sedin than rookie Matthew Peca. The 24-year-old is expected to fill Sedin’s role as the No. 2 center this season.
For Peca, this is a big moment. He was impressive a year ago in his first professional campaign with the Metros’ minor league affiliate the Brighton Braves, but never has he been given this kind of opportunity. After showing some scoring touch last season finishing with 23 goals and 69 points with the Braves, early indications are that he’ll be asked to center a line with two of the most talented scorers on the Metros roster in Ondrej Palat and Brandon Saad.
This isn’t necessarily something new for him, though. While the diminutive centerman has never experienced playing with line mates as offensively talented as Palat and Saad, he did play the middle alongside Hamilton Steelhawk’s Sam Anas in the NCAA while playing for Quinnipiac University. Together they formed 2/3 of the Bobcat’s top line.
The key for Peca, as it will likely be for most of the season, will be finding a way to consistently contribute. He’s not the biggest guy (generously listed at 5-foot-8, 155-pounds), but despite that he has an edge to his game that could yield success. On most scouting rankings - various categories like checking-CK, or skating-SK rated out of 100 – Peca scores a 76 on his CK rating, 76 for skating, 97 for his faceoff ability, and 79 for his overall defensive play.
Despite having only a 72 rating for his scoring prowess and a 75 in passing, Metros management feel he has the potential to be an above average contributor this season. The freshman is not yet at the point of someone like James Van Riemsdyk (90sc), but the hope is that a good season will help propel that number in the eyes of the scouts and talent evaluators come next offseason.