Newly-drafted Maple Leafs prospect announces big career decision

Dean Chaudhry
July 6, 2024  (10:17)

Matt Lahey
Photo credit: Nanaimo Clippers

Drafted by the Maple Leafs in the 7th round of this year's draft, Matthew Lahey has made a huge decision that will change the trajectory of his future in hockey.

Lahey has decided to forego the WHL and is pursuing a future in the NCAA as he views it as a better route for his development.
Selected with the 200th pick at the 2024 NHL Entry Draft, the Toronto Maple Leafs welcomed defenseman Matthew Lahey into the organization's pipeline. The 6'5, 205 pound defenseman hails from Victoria, British Columbia, but instead of opting for a junior career in the Western Hockey League like most western Canadian prospects, he's instead turning to the NCAA.
Kyle Cushman of The Score cited that Lahey believes the NCAA will offer him a better route for his development and more runway as a player.
"I think the NCAA route lets me develop more as a person, player, and grow into my body a little bit more, because I have the extra few years."

Lahey just finished his second season with the Nanaimo Clippers of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL), where he tallied 2 goals and 19 points in 54 games played, which is an improvement from the 0 goals and 1 assist he accumulated in 34 games the year prior. He is committing to Clarkson University ahead of the 2024-25 season, which is located in New York.
Over the last several years, the NCAA has proven to be one of the more venerated junior circuits in the hockey world. They have produced many scintillating prospects and have put American hockey back on the map. It has become a consistent theme in recent drafts to see NCAA players populate the top-end of the first round, whereas the WHL, or the CHL for that matter, has lost a little bit of its lustre.
Despite being drafted in the 7th round, Lahey's got the right spirit and attitude and is trying to soak in as much information as possible at this year's Development Camp, according Lance Hornby of The Toronto Sun.
"It was not the end of the world if I wasn't drafted," Lahey said of the draft. "Thankfully they picked me. I'm trying to soak in all the information here I can and take it with me."

Nevertheless, Lahey should have a great opportunity to impress at Clarkson University as he looks to make headway into his hockey career that will start in the NCAA circuit.
Source for Matthew Lahey's statistics: Elite Prospects
Matthew Lahey
Source for Matthew Lahey's draft comments: Toronto Sun
MAPLE LEAFS NOTES: Many underdog stories unfolding at development camp
Newly-drafted Maple Leafs prospect announces big career decision

Which junior circuit do you think is better?

NCAA8813.7 %
CHL50178 %
European junior leagues538.3 %
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