Our seventh annual Top 25 Under 25 countdown has begun! The rankings were determined by a combination of reader voting and our staff’s own voting. We then combined the reader rankings and the staff rankings to determine the top 25. To be eligible for the countdown, a player must be 24 or younger on October 2, 2019, when the 2019-20 NHL season begins.
The 9th overall player on the Top 25 Under 25 list is the Los Angeles Kings defenseman, Matt Roy. Why is a former seventh-round draft pick a ninth overall prospect ranked by the fans and us, the writers? Well, his route to the NHL has been more than interesting.
Roy started his college career with the Michigan Tech Huskies in 2014. In 2015, the Kings selected him as the 194th overall player in the seventh round of the NHL Entry Draft. In other words, nobody was expecting big things from Roy. He continued his NCAA career for two more seasons. In an offensively-minded league, Roy gathered 55 points in 115 games.
That´s already a very solid number, but Roy has not been known for his great offensive display on the blue line. In March 2017, after completing his NCAA career, Roy signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Los Angeles Kings. The Detroit native spent his first full pro season with the Ontario Reign at the AHL level. In the 2017-18 campaign, he combined for 17 points in 49 games and also added another four playoff appearances.
In his second season with the Reign, Roy skated in 45 games, collecting a total of 29 points. With the increase in points, he was asking for a place on the Kings roster. As the Kings winded up their 2018-19 regular season in demise, they decided to give youngsters, including Roy, a chance. Roy made his NHL debut in February in a loss versus the Vancouver Canucks.
Later on, on March 21, the 24-year-old defenseman recorded his first NHL goal in a sweet fashion, ripping one past Martin Jones from the San Jose Sharks to kick start the Kings comeback in a 4-2 win at the Staples Center.
Roy ended his first NHL stint with 25 games, in which he posted two goals and four assists. It’s rather clear that Roy is not an offensive defenseman. The 200lb-blueliner is not afraid of lying his body around as he collected a total of 47 blocks and 38 hits in those 25 encounters. He averaged 17:08 of the ice-time per contest. His advanced stats weren’t the greatest ones for sure. His CF% was at 44.9, while his PDO was at 101.6. However, his defensive zone starts percentage was at 57.1.
Once again, none of the Kings players, mainly in the final three months of the regular campaign, had a good go. But that doesn’t mean that Roy hasn’t learned a ton of good hockey things moving forward. For the former seventh-overall draft choice, to play in the NHL only three and a half years later is impressive. Indeed, it was quite a good mark Roy has left playing on the Kings blueline.
As of the 2019-20 season, the Kings right-handed-defensemen pool is quite deep. For Roy, it will be a challenge to convince the new Head Coach Todd McLellan that he deserves a chance on the opening night roster. His career has been very promising so far and the Kings can certainly call him as a steal based on the very low selection in 2015.
Now look at the voting and how was Roy selected by either us, the writers, or you, the fans. The only fool ranking Matt Roy as the fourth-best on the list from the writers’ group was, of course, me.