For the second time in three seasons, it looks as if the NY Islanders have found a diamond in the rough with their fifth-round selection. Last June, the Isles' fifth-round pick in 2020, William Dufour, was presented the Michel-Briére trophy as the MVP of the QMJHL. Less than two weeks later, Dufour was granted even more hardware as he led the St. John Sea Dogs to a Memorial Cup Championship, where he was named tournament MVP.
This year, Islanders’ 2022 fifth-round pick Matthew Maggio claimed the Red Tilson Trophy as the MVP of the OHL and has now been named to the CHL’s Second All-Star Team. Joining Maggio are Zachary Bolduc (St. Louis Blues/Quebec Remparts), Josh Lawrence (Undrafted/Halifax Mooseheads), Tristan Luneau (Anaheim Ducks/Gatineau Olympiques), Pavel Mintyukov (Anaheim Ducks/Ottawa 67’s), and Dom Divicentiis (Winnipeg Jets/North Bay Batallion).
Maggio’s inclusion in the team comes off the heels of a 111-point season (54 goals, 57 assists), good enough for sixth in all of the CHL.
While Maggio has already contributed to his trophy room this season, there’s hope of adding to his bounty. The CHL Awards Ceremony will be held tomorrow in Kamloops, BC, the night before the Memorial Cup Final. Maggio is a finalist for the David Branch Player of the Year Award, presented to the player judged to be the most outstanding in the Canadian Hockey League. Finalists with Maggio are the MVP of the WHL and favorite to take home the award, Connor Bedard (2023 NHL Draft eligible), and QMJHL MVP Jordan Dumais (Columbus Blue Jackets).
Signing his ELC on May 1st, Maggio is set to join the Bridgeport Islanders for the 2023-24 season and appears ready to put in the work this off-season to prepare him for the rigors of professional hockey.
“It was incredible. It’s a dream come true, but it’s just a step in the door,” said Maggio to Stefan Rosener of The Hockey News. “It obviously means that they have faith in me. I’m pretty honored by that, but that doesn’t really guarantee anything other than that you’re gonna be with them, hopefully, for a few years. So now the work really starts, and it puts into perspective the summer that I need to have.”
Maggio and Dufour will join forces to begin the season, hoping to recreate some of the magic each showed during their final season in juniors.