Throughout the entire 2016-17 season, Florida Panthers rookie defenseman Mike Matheson will be answering all of your questions about life on and off the ice in his monthly mailbag for FloridaPanthers.com.
Have a question you want answered? Tweet them using #MathesonsMailbag!
@floridamermaidd: What are your plans for the offseason?
First off, I'll be playing at the World Championships. I'll be heading over there at the end of the month. I'd obviously rather be in the playoffs right now, but it's a good consolation to be able to continue playing hockey and have something to fight for. It's always an honor to wear the Canadian flag and represent your country. I really enjoyed it last year and I'm looking forward to it this year.
@Reemer13: What was it like having Jaromir Jagr on your team?
At times, being able to play with a guy like that, you'd just be standing there and it would sink in just how much he had accomplished it. Whenever there would be an in-game announcement to congratulate him on another one of his milestones, you'd really realize how long he's been around and how much success he's had. It's been pretty cool. I haven't managed to swipe anything from him, but I do have a few photos.
@sun_puck: Who is your favorite guy in the locker room? He's standing right next to me, so I'm going to have to say Alex Petrovic [laughs]. Seriously though, it's Petro. He keeps things relaxed. I think there were a lot of moments this year where it would have been easy to be negative, but he was definitely one guy that was always keeping things positive and upbeat. As a group, I think all our defenseman were able to handle that sort of adversity pretty well. Obviously we'd rather be in a different situation and be in the playoffs and be fighting for that, but I think that we have a good core group of guys that get along well and have a lot of cohesiveness among our team.
@MisterBauer3: Who has the funniest nickname on the Panthers? Hmm… I'd have to go with Thornwhistle, for Shawn Thornton.
@adribrad913: How was your experience playing for the Panthers this season? It was great. Last year being able to come up here and play and play in the playoffs and get that experience was incredible. But to really start from the beginning, make the team and stay with the team the whole year was really special. I think that I learned a lot from guys like Thorty, guys like Jags, guys like Mack, JD, Yands and Juice -- all of those guys that have been around for so long and experienced so much. They really taught me a lot and taught me things that are going to be with me for a long time. It's going to be a little weird not being a rookie next season, but as this season went on I got more and more comfortable. I think being able to build on that will be important at the beginning of next year to get a good start.
@Ghosteface: What's the biggest part of your game you'll be working on this offseason?
I think that's one area that you kind of have to sit down and think about for a little while. I haven't thought too much about it yet because the end of the season is still so fresh and now I'm heading to the World Championship. But I think one area for sure will be my consistency. That's one thing that I definitely focus on all year and one thing I know I'll have to keep focusing on. When you play that many games, there's obviously going to be some nights that you're not feeling as good or you're kind of fighting the puck the whole time, so it's learning to be able to manage that. It's not one of those things that you're going through every day, like shooting 100 pucks or something like that where you're working on one specific thing. It's just one thing that I'm going to keep in my mind throughout the whole summer while also continuing to shoot a bunch of pucks and work on my skating.
A Special Thanks
With this being my last mailbag, I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone that read these articles and submitted questions throughout the season. I enjoyed doing this a lot. I know it was a tough year, and I'm sure it was even tougher for a lot of fans, but we're all eager to get back at it next season.
I think I can speak for everyone in the locker room when I say just how much we appreciated how much you all stuck with us and continued to support us this season. It was really cool for my first year and I'm just looking forward to having more success in the coming years.
Thanks for your support!