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This article was published 21/3/2019 (671 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Stelio Mattheos hasn’t run out of hockey to play this season just yet.
The 19-year-old Brandon Wheat Kings captain signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday morning.
He quickly caught a flight to Charlotte, N.C., where the Winnipegger will join Carolina’s AHL affiliate, the Checkers, on an amateur tryout agreement.
Mattheos was uncharacteristically quiet when asked about his contact situation recently as the Wheat Kings fought for a WHL playoff spot.
"I just didn’t want to give anything away," Mattheos said at the airport in Charlotte on Thursday afternoon.
"I didn’t want to be thinking about that, too. I was confident it was going to get done, and I’m happy it got done and I’m excited to keep playing for the rest of the season."
Mattheos received a US$277,500 signing bonus, and will earn US$700,000 per season in the first two years and US$750,000 in the final year if he’s in the NHL. He will make US$70,000 per season if he’s in the AHL.
He will join Foxwarren product Morgan Geekie with the Checkers. The Hurricanes selected the two Manitobans six picks apart in the third round of the 2017 NHL draft.
Geekie, 20 and a former Tri-City Americans star, has 15 goals and 23 assists in 62 AHL games this season.
The 6-1, 200-pound Mattheos, who won a WHL championship with the Wheat Kings in 2016, has blossomed into an elite offensive force. He is equipped with an outstanding shot that allowed him to become the only WHL player to score 40 goals in each of the past two seasons.
In his final two seasons, he posted 96 and 90 points, respectively.
Mattheos has worn a can’t-miss tag since the Wheat Kings selected him first overall in the 2014 WHL bantam draft. A graduate of the Winnipeg Wild, Mattheos scored in his first WHL game as a 15-year-old and went on to post 278 points in 253 games, which ties him for 21st in Wheat Kings career scoring with the team’s current head scout, Darren Ritchie.
Mattheos said his time with the Wheat Kings was valuable.
"My knowledge of the game and my skill level has gone up tremendously since I showed up in Brandon. I can’t thank everyone enough in Brandon for helping me develop."
Don Waddell, who serves as president and general manager of the Hurricanes, said in a press release that he likes the potential Mattheos brings.
"Stelio is a highly skilled center coming off back-to-back 90-point seasons in Brandon," Waddell said.
"He’s shown great ability as a goal scorer and we look forward to the next steps in his development."