by Mike Ries, Staff Writer, AHL Report

Matt Petgrave (Photo by Amy Johnson | Rocket Sports Media)

BRAMPTON, ON. — Matt Petgrave is entering his first full season in professional hockey after a four-year OHL career with the Niagara IceDogs, Owen Sound Attack, and the Oshawa Generals. Petgrave then attended the University of New Brunswick for four years on his OHL scholarship. Matt has been a solid point producing defenceman wherever he has played, and that remains true at the professional level.

Starting his OHL career in Niagara alongside current teammate Reggie Traccitto as an undrafted free agent, Petgrave quickly became a solid OHL defenceman in his first season on a veteran-laden IceDogs team. What set Matt apart early in his hockey career was his skating ability. Today, at 25-years-old, he is a far superior skater to most of the opponents he faces at the ECHL level.

Following his rookie season in the OHL, Matt spent the next three years near the top of his team for scoring by a defenceman. In his over-age year, he suffered a broken wrist that cost him a considerable amount of time out of the Generals lineup and possibly a shot at an NHL contract. At the time of his injury, Petgrave had recorded 25 points in 23 games.

After an invitation as a free agent to attend the Washington Capitals rookie camp, Matt decided to use his OHL scholarship to further his education and hockey career at the University of New Brunswick for four seasons. There, contributed to a team that captured two national titles.

Matt D’Agostini, Matt Petgrave (Photo by Amy Johnson | Rocket Sports Media)

What has been impressive so far in the young pro career of Matt Petgrave is his continued development. His hockey I.Q. is ever rising, and his ability to find open ice has improved significantly over the past two seasons.

That said, his skating remains his best asset. While not being the most fluid skater, nor the most technically sound on his edges, his initial burst is what sets him apart from most players. Being blessed with blazing straight line speed doesn’t hurt either.  These factors were noticed by the Toronto Marlies of the AHL, who signed Matt earlier this season to a tryout contract before returning him to Brampton.

So far this season, Matt has recorded 18 points in 28 games including 13 assists. This has been a strong enough start to the season to garner him ECHL All-Star honours.  Don’t be surprised to see him move up to the AHL next season on a consistent basis, as he has proved that he can project his hockey talent to the next level and time will tell how far it will take him.