Who is this guy?
What are they saying about him?
The most notable aspect of Marcantuoni's game is his speed and skating ability. He uses his blistering speed and agility to move about the ice with impunity, with a physical edge that belies his slight stature. Assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald said of him "He has NHL speed for sure. You can look down the road and think he can be a top penalty killer because of that speed and his tenacity. But he can shoot the puck too and he showed a willingness to drive to the net and get pucks on net." His draft profile states:
His balance and power are major strengths of his game, and he uses them to go all out on every shift. Marcantuoni is viewed as a legitimate top ten pick, and it wouldn't be outrageous to say that he could even be selected in the top five.
Scouts are especially high on his vision and his willingness to mix it up along the boards. More often than not Marcantuoni will go into a corner with a bigger opponent and come away with the puck. What most people notice right away about Matia Marcantuoni's game is that it's all about speed, and lots of it. NHL scouts believe that as soon as his hands catch up to his feet, Marcantuoni will be a dynamite player on every shift.
The leadership is clearly there, the skill is there, the speed is very much there, and his potential to be a future NHL star is unquestionably there. So don’t be surprised if he’s named captain of an NHL team in the future, because he’ll very likely be the right man for the job.
Marcantuoni is an outstanding skater. He absolutely flies around the ice, and is in our opinion, among the five fastest skaters in this draft. He has great acceleration reaching that top speed very quickly. His edgework, and agility are top notch, allowing him to quickly get past defenders. He’s also strong on his skates, has excellent balance and is difficult to knock off the puck.
Marcantouni has all the tools to be a goal scorer. He has a very good shot and a deceptive release that can beat goaltenders. He has the soft hands that help him to convert in tight. Marcantuoni works in traffic and isn’t afraid to battle for a puck in the corner or infront of the net, and often wins those battles despite his smaller size.
Despite the glowing recommendations of pre-Draft Marcantuoni, his scouting profile isn't all positive. The biggest issue is that his development has been derailed by a series of injuries throughout his junior career. That appears to be the primary cause for his dropping from being a Top 10 prospect to falling to the Pens in the 4th round. There are also some issues with his need to refine his game to get better vision to adjust in the offensive zone. When he has the puck and is rushing towards the net he is usually pretty solid, but he is not a natural play maker so his passes often go awry. Defensively he has the speed to excel at backchecking and has shown an excellent ability on the PK, but he needs to improve his coverage in his own end instead of just relying on his speed to allow him to beat opponents to the puck.
Where has he been?
Marcantuoni spent the past 3 seasons with the OHL Kitchener Rangers but a series of injuries caused him to miss a large chunk of his career already. He was behind some pretty big names in his rookie season, but was expected to move up to a Top 6 role in his 2nd season before getting injured. Last year he was eased back into the lineup and has since been used in more of a Check line role to focus on developing his play in his own end rather than the freewheeling offensive style he played in his early days. During his rookie season he served as Captain for the Gold Medal winning Team Canada Ontario at the World Hockey Championships U17. The following season he represented Team Canada U18 at the Ivan Hlinka Tournament, but one of his frequent injuries cut his participation short.
When can we expect to see him?
Marcantuoni is 19 years old this season and still has a ways to go before he is ready for playing hockey at the professional level, so he is going to be back in the juniors this season, still hoping to earn a contract from the Penguins. With how much time he missed due ot injury it seems likely that he will need a few years in the minors to further hone his skills at both ends of the ice. However, he has the pure skill to suggest that he will be able to contribute at the NHL level in perhaps 2-4 years.
Why is he #13?
Marcantuoni received 1 vote for 7th, 1 vote for 9th, 2 votes for 12th, 1 vote for 13th, 1 vote for 20th, 1 vote for 21st, 1 vote for 25th, and 1 omitted him from the Top 25.
How can he climb the list?
He has to bounce back from his injury history and prove that the Top 10 potential was not a fluke. He needs to become better in his own zone and learn the coachable skills such as vision and anticipation, which will help his play at both ends of the ice. If he reaches his full potential he could be an eventually Top 6 replacement for Pascal Dupuis. But even if he struggles he could certainly be a solid contributor on the Check line or a 4th line PK specialist. He just needs to prove he can bounce back.