With the 200th pick in the 2024 entry draft, the Leafs selected Matt Lahey a defender who will attend Clarkson University next year. Lahey, from Victoria BC, is a left-shooting defender, listed on Elite Prospects at 6'4" and 201lbs. He is still 17, with a birthday in July.

The Elite Prospects Guide contains a long scouting report, some of which is below:

Imposing at 6-foot-4, 201-pounds, Matthew Lahey anchored the blue line for the BCHL's Trail Smoke Eaters this past season. Playing an average of 20:07 as a 17-year-old, the Victoria-born left-shot defender regularly ate over two minutes of shorthanded time per game.

Lahey is not just a physical force, but a strategic player who intelligently leverages his size advantages. His defensive style isn't really centred around cataclysmic hits, but about disrupting the game. He excels at sealing the boards, often pinning puck carriers, trapping feet, and forcing pucks to the outside, showcasing his cerebral approach to the game.

He's proactive, targeting and brutalizing opponents' sticks on reception, and seriously hampers secondary and tertiary threats via man-on-man coverage. While Lahey doesn't face the most complex transitional attacks at the BCHL level, steady, non-committal footwork, combined with some modest lateral ability, allows the Clarkson-commit to stifle opponents off the rush. He keeps his stick recoiled, timing his pokechecks, shocking puck carriers with his reach.

Unfortunately, he's not the most aggressive player, opting to guard the dotted lines passively rather than finish threats on the sideboards. The downside of Lahey's game revolves around how simple he is in the offensive zone.

His breakout game is equally straightforward. The extent of his puck-moving is short-pass efforts, an occasional saucer pass over a layer, and some longer-bomb feeds up the middle. Lahey's retrieval game is basic as well, aided greatly by his scanning habits.

With all of that considered, Lahey's upside was too limited for our final board. Nevertheless, with his size advantages and defensive sense, his projection as a bottom-pairing shutdown defender is clear. His tools could hold him back at higher levels, but there is a good bet that Lahey will be a play-stopper in every level he competes in.

That sums him up. He's bigger than everyone else, and plays a simple game.

There is beauty in the simplicity of Lahey's game. This performance was a masterclass in shoulder checks on retrievals, using size and reach to be first to pucks, and moving pucks to the wingers. If every play were that simple, he would excel immensely. He's a smooth-skating, powerful, physical battle defender who wraps up players at the net front and pins them down low in the cycle. The rush attack was hesitant to challenge his side one-on-one due to his ability to stick swipe off the rush and follow up with physicality. It's easy to imagine how his skating, size, and straightforward play could translate to the NHL. However, Lahey needs to work on his puck skills to diversify how he escapes pressure, rather than relying on backhanded passes to the wing or shoveling passes along the boards. There were moments where he rehandled and looked for creative outlets but didn't attempt any of them. The downside of his game was the intensity of the few turnovers he had in the defensive zone, which led to scoring chances. He also had instances where players felt his physicality at the net front but managed to spin off him or gain inside position at key moments. Lahey is a bit of a project, but one I'm confident a team will want to develop slowly and let mature in college.
25955 - Victoria vs. Nanaimo - FCHockey
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