Matt Nieto was one of the breakout rookies this season for the San Jose Sharks.
Throughout 66 games played, Nieto scored 10 goals and recorded 14 assists. Throughout seven playoff games played, he managed two goals and three assists.
After playing only 11 games in the 2012-13 campaign with Worcester, Nieto managed to impress coaching staff during trainging camp and make it on the Sharks roster for opening night.
“He was an unknown to us as coaches because we don’t get to see him play when he’s in college or anything like that,” said Sharks coach Todd McLellan, who added he first saw Nieto’s potential in summer development camp. “But he was not unknown to the organization. A pleasant surprise, but not a shot out of space or anything like that.”
Nieto’s speed is the biggest strength he brings to the Sharks roster.
For a forward in the NHL, Nieto is on the smaller side. Not that this is the nail in his coffin, but the rookie will need to perfect his puck handling skills to make up for his size.
In addition, Nieto started off the season less than great. He didn’t make his debut until the third game and wasn’t in the lineup for all games. It wasn’t until the end of the season that Nieto found his stride and started to impact the team.
Nieto’s best moment on the ice would have to be his scoring his first playoff goal against the Los Angeles Kings. Not only was it his first postseason goal, but it was also against the team he loved as a child while his family was in attendance. Here’s a replay: