2005-06: After seeing limited action with the Toronto St. Michaels Majors in 2004-05, Matt Halishcuk got more ice time and as a result, saw his numbers increase significantly. He scored 13 goals and 18 assists in 61 games.
2006-07: In his first season with the Kitchener Rangers after two years with St. Mike's, Halischuk posted breakout numbers in his third OHL season, leading the Rangers in scoring with 33 goals and 33 assists and also recording a +11 rating to go along with 66 PIM’s in 67 games. He parlayed his breakout season into getting himself selected by the New Jersey Devils in the fifth round of the 2007 NHL Draft.
2007-08: Halischuk started off the season on a tear, and only a mid-season high ankle sprain slowed him down. He also missed a few games in late December and early January as he participated in the World Junior Championships, where he scored the game-winning goal in the gold meal game for Team Canada in overtime. In 40 regular season games for the Kitchener Rangers, Halischuk scored at well over a point a game clip, with 13 goals and 46 assists and posted an impressive +17 rating. He continued his torrid scoring in the post-season for the Rangers, again scoring at well over a point a game clip with 32 points in only 20 games. Halischuk played a key role in leading the team to the Memorial Cup final where the club ultimately fell to Spokane.
2008-09: Despite missing just over two months of game action with a sprained MCL, Halischuk had a stellar rookie pro season. He scored his first four professional goals in just his second game, tying franchise marks for goals and points in a game. Though some what inconsistent, in 47 games, he managed to score 14 goals and 15 assists, and finish sixth overall in team scoring. He also impressed New Jersey enough early on to earn a one-game audition in October against the Maple Leafs, in which he didn't disappoint, picking up an assist in the contest.
2009-10: Halischuk receive an extended look with the Devils in his second pro season, appearing in 20 NHL games and scoring 1 goal, 1 assist in a bottom six role. He also appeared in 32 AHL games with Lowell, scoring 11 goals and 11 assists for 22 points. He was held without a point in 1 playoff game with Lowell. During the offseason, Halischuk was traded to Nashville, along with a 2nd round pick, in the deal that sent Jason Arnott back to New Jersey.
Standing at only 5’11, 173 lbs, Halischuk’s small stature likely caused many teams to shy away from drafting him. What he lacks in size, he more than makes up for with energy and hard work. He’s a good skater and as evidenced by his 33 goals last season, has good hands and is more than adept at putting the puck in the net. He’s also a stalwart on the penalty kill.
With the size issue, also comes the strength issue and that is something Halischuk will likely have to battle for his entire career. While today’s NHL is geared more towards speed and skill, you still need to have enough strength to not get pushed around.