|Matthias carries the puck against the San Jose Sharks in a game this past season (Getty Images)
Shawn Matthias isn’t the type to settle after having a career year.
The sign of a great athlete is when they continue to evolve and make improvements on their game. Matthias’ yearning to get better shows that he’s willing to do just that.
“I had career highs, but I had a slow start and a bad ending so I think I could have done a lot better than I did,” he explained. “I think last year was a step in the right direction, but I just have to work hard all season, I got to stay in shape, [and] I got to be prepared.”
Regardless, Matthias had a solid season for the Panthers last year. He topped his previous career highs by tallying 24 points (10 goals, 14 assists) as well as posting 49 penalty minutes. His previous career high in points was 16, which he accumulated in each of the previous two years.
However, Matthias knows he can do better. And while he is spending his summer with his family and “getting some much needed rest”, he is working out a lot this summer to improve on his career-best totals from last season.
“I go to a hockey specific trainer and there are other hockey players in there [as well],” said Matthias recently. “We are working out 2 -2 ½ hours a day and working hard five days a week.
“I’ve worked hard all summer so far to be ready for next year and I think my best year is going to be coming up this next season.”
Playing in nearly every game this past season helped Matthias understand what it took to get through the grind of a season. With that in mind plus his vigorous summer workout regimen, the Missisauga, Ont. native can’t wait for the season to finally start.
“I’ve had some injuries and stuff that kept me out of a quite a few games in years before,” said Matthias. “I think this year playing pretty much the whole season [made me] realize how tough it is, but I’m prepared for next season… and I look forward to going to camp and showing everybody that I’m ready and [I’m ready to]open some eyes.”
The Panthers of course captured their first Southeast division crown last year and GM Dale Tallon had a lot to do with that. Matthias has been in South Florida since before Tallon came to town and he has seen first-hand how Tallon has changed the culture in Sunrise.
It’s [having Tallon as GM] awesome; it’s a close team. Everybody cares about each other and everybody wants to win… and that’s what it’s all about,” he said. “I’m excited to be a part of this team going forward and I want to be here a long time.”