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Panthers Ink C Shawn Matthias to Entry-Level Contract

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
Forward Shawn Matthias
Acquired in Trade with Detroit in February; Leads OHL’s Belleville in Scoring

SUNRISE, Fla. – Florida Panthers General Manager and head coach Jacques Martin announced today that the club has agreed on an entry-level contract with C Shawn Matthias.

Matthias, 19, was acquired by Florida along with a conditional draft pick from Detroit in exchange for Todd Bertuzzi on Feb. 27, 2007. Currently, Matthias is playing junior hockey for the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey league (OHL). He is fourth in the OHL and leads Belleville with 56 points (19-37-56) in only 30 games played. He has a rating of plus-17.

“We feel Shawn will make an impact in Florida in the near future,” Martin said. “He has been very successful in junior hockey and now Shawn is ready to take the next step to professional hockey. He is a high-character individual who fits perfectly into what we look for in a Florida Panthers player.”

The 6-4, 213-pound Mississauga, Ontario native was recently named to the Team Canada junior squad that will compete in the 2008 IIHF World Junior Championship. In 2006, he competed for Team Canada in the U-18 World Championship.

What people are saying about Matthias:

“Although Florida fans had never heard of Matthias when the Panthers acquired him for Bertuzzi, it seems fairly certain that they will see him in Florida's lineup in a couple of seasons.” ~USA Today

“No. 12 most ‘Can’t Wait to see in the NHL Player’: While comparisons to early-era Todd Bertuzzi may be unfair to put on a junior, they’re unfortunately factual when it comes to Matthias.” ~The Hockey News

“You probably won’t hear any of the Detroit brass say this, but by the looks of Shawn Matthias’s start this year, they came out on the short end of the Todd Bertuzzi deal and not by a little bit.”

The Florida Panthers 2007-08 season is presented by the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek. Sunrise Sports & Entertainment is the premier company of its kind in South Florida. Home to more than 185 events annually and the Florida Panthers Hockey Club, the BankAtlantic Center is consistently a top 20 United States venue according to Pollstar. The BankAtlantic Center welcomes more than two million guests each year and is also the home of the Sinatra Theatre presented by BankAtlantic and two monthly South Florida publications: Unrestricted and Panthers Insider.

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