NY Islanders Mock Draft Projections: Mathieu Cataford

2023 Kubota CHL Top Prospects Game - Practice
2023 Kubota CHL Top Prospects Game - Practice / Dennis Pajot/GettyImages

We're just over a week away from the NHL Draft and finding out who the newest members of the NY Islanders organization will be.

Continuing with following players selected through various mock drafts across the internet, today we look at a two-round mock done by Tab Bamford of Bleacher Nation, whose chosen right wing, Mathieu Cataford of the Halifax Mooseheads in the QMJHL at No. 49.

Ranked No. 36 by NHL Central Scouting (North American Skaters), Cataford registered the fourth most points in Halifax this season, putting up 75 (31 goals, 44 assists) in 68 games. In what could be considered a down year for the QMJHL in terms of high-end draft-eligible prospects, Cataford is widely considered a top-two forward prospect out of the league with Ethan Gauthier.

Cataford plays a no-nonsense North and South style of play. A well-rounded two-way forward, Cataforfd is no slack in the defensive end of the ice. He tracks back into his own zone, hounding the opposition and looking to force a dump where his teammates can begin their puck retrieval.

Offensively, Cataford has an outstanding shot. He can release the puck with force, potentially putting up 50 goals in the QMJHL next year. His keen hockey sense allows him to find soft spots in the defense where he can position himself to operate.

What's keeping Cataford's game from the next level is his skating. He's an average to below-average skater, not capable of creating himself much. He prefers to find open space and look to bury the puck with a quick release.

Listed at 5'11" and with his skating ability what it currently is, Cataford projects as middle-six forward at the NHL level. With another two years of eligibility in the QMJHL, Cataford has the potential to fine-tune his game and become more of an offensive threat. Cataford would be a safe pick at No. 49 for the Isles, but if they're hoping to find a diamond in the rough, there will be players with higher ceilings available at the mid-way point of the second round.