2009-10: Mike Matheson skated for the Lac Saint-Louis Lions midget AAA team in Quebec. In 30 regular season games he scored 5 goals with 6 assists and had 33 penalty minutes. In the playoffs he scored 6 goals with 7 assists and had 10 penalty minutes in 17 games. Lac Saint-Louis reached the Quebec finals before falling to College Antioine-Girouard. Matheson was selected by Shawinigan in the second round (27th overall) of the 2010 QMJHL Entry Draft.
2010-11: Matheson was a team captain for Lac Saint-Louis in his second season as the Lions advanced to the Telus Cup (Canada’s midget AAA championship). He led all Lions defensemen with 14 goals and 24 assists and had 72 penalty minutes in 35 games. In the Quebec tournament he scored 7 goals with 18 assists and had 16 penalty minutes in 15 games. The Lions were second in round-robin play and lost to Vancouver North West in the bronze medal game of the Telus Cup. Matheson was named the tournament’s top defenseman; finishing with 3 goals and 5 assists in seven games. He committed to playing college hockey at Boston College in 2012-13.
2011-12: Matheson opted for a year of junior hockey – skating for the USHL’s defending champion Dubuque Fighting Saints. In an up-and-down season for the Saints, who were riddled by injuries in the first half, Matheson was the leading scorer amongst defensemen with 11 goals and 16 assists in 53 games. He had an even plus/minus for the season and a team-high 84 penalty minutes. In five playoff games he scored 2 of his 4 goals on the power play and had 1 assist and an even plus/minus with 4 penalty minutes. Dubuque was swept by Indiana in a best-of-five second round series. Moncton obtained the QMJHL rights to Matheson in a trade with Shawinigan. He was invited to the NHL Draft Combine and ranked 30th amongst North American skaters in the Central Scouting final rankings. Florida selected Matheson in the first round (23rd overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft.
2012-13: Matheson made a smooth transition from the USHL to college hockey in his freshman season at Boston College. The leading scorer amongst Eagles defensemen, he scored 8 goals with 17 assists and was +15 with 78 penalty minutes in 36 games. The defending national champions, Boston College finished second in Hockey East. The Eagles lost to Boston University, 6-3, in the Hockey East semifinals and lost to ECAC Hockey champion Union, 5-1, in an NCAA East Regional semifinal game.
2013-14: Matheson led Boston College defensemen in scoring as a sophomore as the Eagles were one of the nation’s top teams and reached the Frozen Four. He scored 3 goals with 18 assists and was +18 with 49 penalty minutes in 38 games. BC won the Hockey East regular season title and was among the top-ranked teams in the country most of the year. The Eagles were upset by Notre Dame in a three-game Hockey East quarterfinal series but rebounded to capture the NCAA Northeast Regional — defeating Denver and Massachusetts-Lowell — before falling to eventual national champion Union, 5-4, in a Frozen Four semifinal game.
2014-15: Matheson signed a three-year entry-level contract with Florida in March 2015 following his junior season at Boston College, foregoing his final season of college eligibility. He made his pro hockey debut with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage, recording 2 assists and finishing +1 with 8 penalty minutes in five games. Matheson as a first-pairing rearguard on a strong Boston College team that featured freshman defenseman Noah Hanifin. He scored 8 goals with 17 assists and was +15 with 78 penalty minutes in 36 games. BC finished tied with eventual national champion Providence for second in Hockey East, receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA East Regional. The Eagles lost, 5-2, to Denver in the semifinals.
2015-16: Matheson made his NHL debut with the Panthers during a two-game call-up in February and re-joined Florida at the end of the season, skating in the final five games of the playoff series against the Islanders. He was +1 with no points and 2 penalty minutes, averaging 17:32 minutes in three regular season games. Matheson’s minutes steadily increased in the playoffs as he recored his first NHL point (an assist) and was +1 while averaging 21:41 minutes of ice time; playing over 25 minutes in each of the final two games. He finished the year winning a gold medal with Canada at the 2016 World Championship. In 10 games he was +11 and scored 2 goals with 4 assists. Canada shutout Finland, 2-0, in the gold medal game. Matheson played 54 regular season games for Florida AHL affiliate Portland. He scored 8 goals with 12 assists and was +14 with 30 penalty minutes.
Matheson is a top-flight offensive defenseman prospect. He has improved his defensive positioning since early in his college career but is still a work in progress in his own zone. He needs to improve his physical play and focus less on the puck as opponents attack. When he moves out of his zone Matheson shines. He has dazzling speed and is a skilled puckhandler who adds tremendous pressure up ice with his skating and his shot.
Matheson gave Florida fans a glimpse of the future in 2015-16, joining the Panthers in the playoffs due to injuries amongst the defense corps. One of the top defensemen for AHL affiliate Portland during the regular season, he also skated for Canada in the 2016 World Championship. Matheson will look to earn a full-time spot with the Panthers in training camp and projects as a top-four defenseman with the ability to contribute to the attack.