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Lucas Matta commits to RPI
He becomes the 2nd LD transfer from Western Michigan in as many years
On Monday, RPI picked up its 4th transfer commitment when Western Michigan LD Lucas Matta committed to the Engineers. Matta was listed at 6’2” and 185 LBs this year as a freshman at WMU. He only played in 6 games this year with no points and a -1 rating. Last year, he was very good in the BCHL with 7 goals, 11 assists and 18 points in 32 games for the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.
The reason Matta couldn’t crack the lineup was due to Western Michigan’s experience on the blue line. All 6 of their regular defensemen were either juniors or seniors. When you’re a top 10 team with that kind of experience on the back end, you’re not going to be turning much to a young freshman to play. Out of those 6, 5 of them will be back, and Dallas Stars draft pick Samuel Sjölund is now eligible to play. There just was not going to be much opportunity for Matta once again, so it makes sense that he chose to enter the portal.
Matta is a big, athletic, two-way defenseman. He is a very smooth skater in all directions and “makes the game look effortless” according to a Neutral Zone scouting report. His size, skating and reach allow him to defend well in his own end, and he is also very good at breaking out the puck with crisp and accurate passes. Offensively, he is good at getting pucks through traffic and on net, and with his skating ability, he can really walk the blue line to open up both passing and shooting lanes. Matta isn’t a very flashy player with the puck, but he has smooth hands and is good with the puck on his stick. Overall, he’s a pretty well-rounded and modern day two-defenseman with his size, skating, and passing.
This likely completes the roster for next season. With 17 forwards, 8 defensemen, and 3 goalies slated for the roster, there isn’t really room for anyone else. The coaching staff has also now filled all of the team’s needs for next season. In my opinion, the only way we’d see another player added to the roster is if an elite talent suddenly became available through either the portal or a decommitment, and the coaching staff felt they could not pass up the opportunity.
Matta fills a clear need on RPI’s blue line next year since they needed an all-situations type of defenseman on the 3rd pairing with Kyle Hallbauer’s graduation. Matta fits the bill, and he also adds more size, which is never a bad thing when you aren’t sacrificing talent or skill. Another positive is that Matta will come in as a sophomore with 3 years of eligibility remaining. With his strong play in junior hockey and his great scouting reports, he definitely has the upside to be a top 4 mainstay as an Engineer. I’m excited to see him playing for RPI this fall! Congratulations to Lucas and his family!
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