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Shawn Matthias: Trade him or keep him? Time to decide

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It's nearly that time of the year again! The Leap Day Trade Deadline is fast approaching, and it's time to endlessly speculate about deadline deals. Today it's Shawn Matthias under the microscope.

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Shawn Matthias

Twenty-eight before the trade deadline, Shawn Matthias is a centre/left wing who has played full time in the NHL since 2010.

Where he's been?

Drafted by Detroit 47th overall in 2006, Matthias played two more years in junior for the Belleville Bulls before he joined the Florida Panthers. Florida acquired his rights in the Todd Bertuzzi trade.

He split his time for two years between the Panthers and their AHL team before sticking in the lineup. His highest point total as a Panther came in 2011-2012, where he had 24 points. He nearly met that mark in the shortened lockout season the next year with 21 points.

He followed that up with 16 points in 59 games and Florida dealt him to Vancouver at the deadline in 2014 as part of the Roberto Luongo deal. He hit a career high in goals and points last year in Vancouver, but the Canucks decided to let him walk as a UFA.

He was signed by the Leafs in July of last year on a one-year deal for $2.3million.

What's he done as a Leaf?

He has 3 goals and 12 points as a Leaf so far in 39 games. His Points per 60 minutes is close to his career average, but those 12 points are over one third secondary assists, so should be looked at with extreme caution. This was not the case in his two years of high production, but is a factor inflating his points in the year he was traded to Vancouver.

He is close to team average in shot differential, and is better by that metric when he plays with Boyes, worse with Bozak. He is not shooting at anything approaching the rate he was last year, while his time on the ice is nearly identical.

He played for a long stretch of games on the wing with Tyler Bozak and P.-A. Parenteau, but he was dropped down the lineup when James van Riemsdyk took over that assignment, a move that corresponded with increased success at both shot differential and scoring for Bozak's line.

Matthias has played primarily with Brad Boyes and either Byron Froese or Mark Arcobello on the fourth line since the change. He also plays on the penalty kill unit sometimes, but has been getting less time there lately.

With the injury to James van Riemsdyk, he has moved back to Bozak's line in Mike Babcock's first try at a sorting out a new lineup.

Keep him?

He's a hard-working, big body winger who can also play centre, and he has shown some ability to play up the lineup as well as down.

Move him out?

He's not come close to his career high in goal scoring, and his skill set is easily replaceable in a younger body. He's got depth guy rental written all over him, and that sort of guy often nets a surprising return at the deadline. Curtis Glencross, who retired after not finding a team to play with this year, fetched a second and a third last year.

If his skates need to be filled for the remainder of the season, Josh Leivo, already getting a shot, is one prospect, as is Jeremy Morin, a high-shooting left wing who the Leafs believe is an NHL calibre player. Matt Frattin could fill in in a pinch too.

Should he stay or should he go?

Trade him. He's been an average player, ageing out of his peak years and not showing any improvement in his career averages under Babcock. He should be dealt for whatever picks he'll bring in.