Matt Nieto led the US National Development Team with 15 goals, 14 assists, and 29 points in only 24 games, and he is now draft eligible for the NHL 2011 Entry Draft taking place in Minnesota next year. Matt currently plays for Boston University, and is expecting to be an impact player this season, with hopes in making the World Junior team in December.
I recently had a chance to ask Matt a few questions regarding the NHL 2011 Entry Draft, and his expectations in his game play this year.
(Photo from Matt Nieto’s Facebook)
What are your goals for this season?
My main goal for the season is to come in as a true freshman and be an impact player and help the team win. Individual success will come with team success. I would also like to make the World Junior team this December after a good start to the season.
What are your thoughts on the NHL 2011 Draft?
I try not to think of it too much, but it’s definitely a goal of mine to have my named called in Minnesota. It has been a goal of mine since I was a kid and achieving that goal would be a great accomplishment for me. I’m looking forward to it.
What were your thoughts on the NHL Research Day in Toronto in the summer?
I thought the camp was great. It was nice to play with and see all of the kids who are going to be drafted with me next year. There were a lot of big names in hockey helping at the camp which was awesome. It was fun testing the new rules and great experience as well.
Who has influenced your style and the way you play hockey?
I would have to say Marian Gaborik. I’ve been told I play like him so as a speedy forward I try to utilize my speed the way he does.
Who is your favourite hockey player?
My favorite hockey player is Jonathan Toews. I try to play the same two way style as him. He is a threat on offense but also reliable defensively in his own end.
What made you want to start playing hockey, and how did you get started?
I started inline skating at age 2 and then my grandpa bought me a plastic stick at age three. I use to watch the Ducks play on TV and act everything out as it was happening. My parents saw my passion for the game so they signed me up for roller hockey at the YMCA. I went to ice hockey at the age of 5 and continued playing from there.
What is your favourite moment in your career?
My favorite moment in my career would have to be winning back to back World Under-18 Championships. The group of guys I played with was great and it was just an unforgettable experience seeing all of our hard work pay off.
Is there anyone you would like to thank for helping you along your career?
I’ve played for many great coaches that have helped me along the way but I’d like to give a special thanks to my parents. They are very supportive and have sacrificed a lot such as allowing me to live away since age 14 to follow my dreams.
Written by: Brittany Fitchett