2022 NHL Draft Tracker: Matthew Seminoff
Matthew Seminoff has made quite the name for himself on a talented Kamloops Blazers roster that boasts three potential draft picks at the 2022 NHL draft. The 18-year-old has accumulated 54 points (25 goals, 29 assists) in 60 games so far this season.
Seminoff, who hails from Leesburg, Virginia, and lived there until he was about six years old before making the move to British Columbia, has taken the rankings by storm as of late. Some scouting reports have him mentioned as a player who has the potential rise in this draft class.
“I’ve watched Seminoff over the past three seasons and the growth in his game over that span has been stellar,” FCHockey head Western scout Derek Neumeier said. “He has really emerged as an effective offensive contributor, including being a guy who does the creating. Yes, he plays on a talented line, but he generates things as well instead of being just a passenger. His hands are soft and quick, which allows him to control the puck well in tight traffic. He also has a keen eye for playmaking and can get pucks to their destination off of both his forehand and backhand.”
Who is Matthew Seminoff?
Seminoff is a skilled, fast, versatile forward who rose through the ranks of the Burnaby Winter Club and was ultimately selected in the fifth round of the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft. He got off to a slow start as a rookie with Kamloops, producing 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in 48 games. With the pandemic looming, the WHL shut down the league and Seminoff went back home to work on his game.
During the 2020-21 season, he elevated that game and was able to mould himself into a complete player. Now, he is finding success in the Blazers top-six, which consists of Dallas Stars top prospect Logan Stankoven and Minnesota Wild prospect Caedan Bankier. His stats with the Burnaby Winter Club made it clear that Seminoff would be able to find success at the major junior level as well as pro.
Seminoff played for the Burnaby Winter Club in 2017-18 when he registered 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists) in 30 games with the Under-15 squad. That point projection and work ethic translated to the next season, where he notched 52 points (19 goals, 33 assists) in 32 games. An improvement to say the least.
He made his WHL debut during the 2019-20 season, which was abruptly cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, during the 2020-21 shortened season, Seminoff found his game and began to look more comfortable at the WHL level. He registered 16 points (11 goals, 5 assists) in 22 games.
Now, he has taken this season by storm putting up career-high numbers alongside the likes of 2022 prospect Fraser Minten and 2023 draft eligible Connor Levis. He was ultimately named, alongside Minten and Mats Lindgren, to play at the CHL/NHL Top Prospects game in Kitchener, ON in March. He picked up an assist in the contest.
One of Smirnoff’s greatest strengths is his puck-hounding abilities and being able to constantly stay on the tail of his opponents. His tracking and hockey IQ is quite high, giving him a few more tools to pick from in his toolkit. But there’s more to it, as his work ethic is off the charts. He is relentless on the ice, always looking to make the next play and his motor never stops, he’s like an F1 car zooming around the ice. That’s one of the first things you’ll notice about Seminoff.
“He displays a solid understanding of how the play is unfolding in the offensive zone and what his next move needs to be, and he also recognizes when he needs to match a higher pace,” Neumeier said. “More of an accuracy shooter than a power shooter. His skating is another perk, as he utilizes quick feet and a good motor to make himself shifty and slippery, though his top speed in open ice could be better. He does a good job of controlling the puck and receiving passes while in full flight.”
Seminoff’s Areas of Improvement
With every raw talent, there are a few kinks that need to be ironed out in their game. Fortunately for Seminoff, these are issues that he will be able to work on and can get over.
“I don’t think there’s a lot to write home about defensively, but he’s smart enough to pickpocket the odd puck or intercept the odd pass to change over possession,” Neumeier said. “His feistiness and willingness to engage physically go in and out, and his lack of size and strength will be something that causes problems for him at higher levels.”
Seminoff looks to finish the season off with the Blazers and anticipates a long postseason. If all goes to plan, he could find himself picked as early as the second round. With as much raw talent that is available over the course of this draft, Seminoff looks to be one of the more complete forwards representing the WHL outside of the first round.