Matt McIlvane was a late draft pick, 8th round, 251st overall by the Senators in 2004. Selected out of the USHL, McIlvane turned a lot of heads in 2003-04 after a productive season, which featured him becoming known as the hardest hitting forward in the league. Open ice, along the boards, anywhere McIlvane had an opportunity to flatten an opposing player he did not hesitate.
2002-03: The season began with McIlvane participating in the 8 Nations Tournament for team USA. In 5 games, McIlvane did not register any points, but he did make his physical presence felt, registering 16 penalty minutes. The remainder of the season was spent with Chicago in the NAHL. McIlvane was a point-per-game player and a force to be reckoned with. In 53 contests, he scored 23 goals, 12 coming on the power play, while adding 33 assists for 56 points in 53 games. He also sat in the box for 89 minutes. In the playoffs, Chicago played two games which saw McIlvane score one goal. He was named to the NAHL All-Rookie Team.
2003-04: This was the season in which McIlvane made himself known to the hockey world. Feared around the USHL, McIlvane was a relentless hitter, taking any opportunity to flatten an opponent, often in highlight reel fashion. He also produced solid numbers on the scoresheet totaling 22 goals and 24 assists for 46 points in 59 games with the Chicago Steel. McIlvane, an alternate captain, was a power play specialist with 14 of his 22 goals coming on the power play. He also amassed 53 penalty minutes and had a +6 rating. In the playoffs, McIlvane scored 3 points in 3 games.
2004-05: Moving on to College hockey, McIlvane joined Ohio State University where he played a limited role. In 42 games, he scored 6 points with just one goal, which remarkably came short-handed. He also recorded 30 penalty minutes and a +2 rating while continuing to play well in the physical department.
2005-06: With an increased role, McIlvane managed to double his production. He managed 13 points (3 goals, 10 assists) in 35 games. All three goals came on the special teams with two being power play markers. McIlvane also had 45 minutes in penalties.
2006-07: McIlvane continued at a similar scoring pace as the previous season. In 33 matches, he tallied 6 goals and 9 assists for 15 points. McIlvane once again showed his special teams prowess scoring half his goals on the power play with another coming short-handed. Remarkably, McIlvane only recorded 14 penalty minutes. In the playoffs, McIlvane registered two assists and two minor penalties in 3 games.
Read Hockey’s Future’s March 2004 interview with McIlvane here.
McIlvane is a bruiser who has also shown decent finishing skills at lower levels. A workhorse with NHL-caliber size, McIlvane has solid puck skills and is extremely competitive. He handles the puck well in traffic and excels along the boards. He works hard in all zones and is a prototypical grinding physical player. Dubbed as a power forward, McIlvane drives to the net hard and always finishes his checks. He needs to improve his on ice vision and passing skills as he lacks in the playmaking department. McIlvane is extremely dedicated and has the overall skill and competitiveness to move on to the next level.
McIlvane has one more year of college eligibility. Still unsigned, he’ll likely return to Ohio State and play his final year. McIlvane is extremely dedicated and has the overall skill and competitiveness to move on to the next level. His tenacious bodychecking ability might be his ticket to the NHL. If he can combine his bruising skills with sound hockey play in all zones, he could make an excellent grinder.