October 14, 2015

Christian Matte

Christian Matte was a dominant scoring winger at the junior and American Hockey League level. He briefly played in the NHL with the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild.

For a while it looked like the Avalanche had landed a surprise prospect in Matte. With their sixth round pick (153rd overall) in the 1993 NHL draft the Avs drafted the QMHJL rookie who had recorded a quiet 17 goals and 53 points with the Granby Bisons. After being drafted he went on to back-to-back 50 goal seasons as Granby's offensive leader.

Beginning in 1995 the Avs invested four seasons of apprenticeship for Matte with their AHL farm teams in Cornwall and Hershey. He slowly emerged as a top AHL scoring threat while improving his defensive game. He really emerged in the 1997 AHL playoffs as he scored eight goals as the Bears won the Calder Cup championship.

Through it all Matte was only given a few odd games with Colorado here and there. But by 1998 the Avalanche had penciled Matte into their opening day roster. But he had a disappointing training camp and was returned to the minors. Despite a 78 point minor league season in 60 games, he was only given seven more games at the NHL level.

Matte must have figured he would never get a shot at the NHL with the Avalanche organization by 2000. In 1999-2000 he led the entire AHL in scoring with 104 points, including a league leading 61 assists. Yet he was once again all but overlooked at the NHL level, only getting a five game look.

In 2000-01 Matte signed with the Minnesota Wild as a free agent. But it was more of the same for Matte. He led the AHL in goals that season, with 38. But the offense-starved Wild only gave Matte a three game stretch - the final three games of his NHL career.

In 2002, after just 25 NHL games and 2 goals and 5 points, Matte left North America to play hockey in Switzerland for two years before retiring.

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