Prospect Watch: Mathieu Cataford

The Vegas Golden Knights drafted a third-round prospect in Mathieu Cataford in last year's draft. What can he offer the team and does he have a future?
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Portraits
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Portraits / Terry Wyatt/GettyImages

Believe it or not, there's a stigma that the Vegas Golden Knights trade many of their prospects for shiny new toys. Whether they acquire Jack Eichel or Ivan Barbashev, one can count on at least one prospect going out the door. But that's not always the case. Enter Mathieu Cataford.

The 19-year-old was drafted with the 77th overall pick by the Golden Knights in the 2023 draft. His youth team was AHM Saint-Constant and was signed to a three-year, entry-level contract on December 31, 2023.

But let's look at Mathieu Cataford and what he can provide the Vegas Golden Knights. Does he have a future on the Golden Knights? What does he offer the team and what are some areas he can improve? Here's a look at Mathieu Cataford and what the future holds for the winger.

What Mathieu Cataford brings to the table

Mathieu Cataford is a well-rounded hockey player. He's great on the forecheck, grabbing turnovers and winning one-on-one battles. The Quebec native is also excellent in transition, making him the ideal player for Bruce Cassidy's system.

Offensively, Cataford is a force. The 19-year-old can break through the offensive zone and fool defenders with his moves and hands. He's also a hard-working player who goes above and beyond on the ice, specializing in the slot. If he can further develop his hockey game, he can become a viable forward that cracks the top 12.

Overall, Cataford's biggest asset is his transition game and intelligence. He moves well and contributes greatly in rushes down the ice. He's meant to be an offensive hockey player, as proven by his 2023-2024 season with the Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League's Halifax Mooseheads. The winger has 40 goals and 50 assists in 65 games with the Mooseheads this season.

What can Mathieu Cataford improve?

One thing Mathieu Cataford can improve is his pace of play. He tends to be undeveloped in this area, not keeping up with what's happening on the ice. However, the 19-year-old is coachable and has plenty of time to improve.

There's also his shot release, which needs to be tinkered with. If Cataford adds some speed to his shot, he can become an asset for the Vegas Golden Knights. Cataford is also undersized at 5'11", making him a misfit in the Golden Knights lineup. Otherwise, the winger can crack the Golden Knights lineup in the future. Intelligence and a great work ethic are undervalued assets in today's hockey world, after all.