Sunday, July 5, 2009

Matthew Pistilli Destined For Albany

Matthew Pistilli

The Carolina Hurricanes have signed undrafted forward Matthew Pistilli of the QMJHL to a three-year entry-level deal, a move that will likely place the 6-foot-2 Montreal-native in a River Rats' uniform during 2009-10 season.

During his career in juniors, Pistilli racked up 319 points (147 G, 172 A) in 322 games, not too bad for a player snubbed in the draft. During the 2008-09 season, Pistilli was the league's eighth highest scorer with 86 points (45 G, 41 A).

In addition to his scoring ability, Pistilli brings character. He was named the 2008-09 Canadian Major Junior Humanitarian Player of the Year, beating out fellow Carolina prospect Chris Terry, who was also nominated for the award.

When looking for players, the Canes apparently care about personality just as much as skill, an excellent quality for any hockey club.

According to the Canadian Hockey League's website, "Pistilli was a major contributor to the Shawinigan community this season and distinguished himself by visiting underprivileged children and donating his personal tickets to every home game and ensuring that the children received VIP recognition as his guest. Throughout the year he participated in local school activities, fundraising initiatives, and minor hockey initiatives."

Some may think undrafted players like Pistilli are long shots, but don't forget the Canes picked up an undrafted forward by the name of Chad LaRose in 2003. LaRose earned a spot on the Canes and signed a two-year, $3.4 million contract just a few days ago.

Matthew Pistilli will likely play his first professional game this October for Albany. He'll deliver offensive depth and true character to the Rats' bench. Will he develop into a Chad LaRose? Only time will tell.