Matt Nickerson developed in the Stars’ own back yard with the Texas Tornado of the NAHL. His first year in the league was nothing awe-inspiring nor was it bad for a defensive defenseman.
His second season was improvement enough to draw scouts’ attention. Not only did his offensive output increase markedly, but Nickerson also turned into an absolute monster on the back end, racking up tons of PIMs and a couple of suspensions.
2003 Entry Draft, 3rd Round, No. 99 Overall
Attended Clarkson College for a year, then played in the QMJHL for one year. Turned pro in 2005-06. Played in Finland for several years.
Strengths: Nickerson has two things NHL scouts crave in spades: size and strength. He already possesses NHL-caliber size, and still has room to improve his conditioning to fill out suitably. Nickerson also has a gigantic mean streak; he loves to hit and fight, doing each well. He is good in the defensive zone, especially punishing opposing forwards along the boards and in front of the net. An added bonus is that Nickerson is a right shot defenseman.
Weaknesses: Nickerson's main weakness is the bane of most big NHLers. Nickerson's size does not lend itself well to good skating ability. While this is something he can work on, it is poor right now. Nickerson's mean streak is also a weakness in addition to being a strength. Sometimes, he has been known to lose control and put his team at a disadvantage, either through penalties or being out of position. Another potential issue for Nickerson is his offensive production at the NHL level. While it appears he may have the skill to at least be somewhat productive, he could also show extremely limited production.
Nickerson needs to improve his skating and overall fitness while developing his raw offensive talents. He must also learn to rein in his temper. While it can be useful to be a beast on the ice, it should be done in a way that does not hurt the team.