NHL Prospect Profile: Mathieu Corbeil

Each day in the lead-up to the NHL Draft on June 25-26 in Los Angeles, Yahoo! Sports will feature one of the Central Scouting Bureau’s Top 100 North American prospects from the Canadian Hockey League.

That oft-overused term “high ceiling” fits the Halifax Mooseheads’ goaltender Mathieu Corbeil.

The 18-year-old Montrealer, at 6-foot-5 and 186 pounds, is not only the goalie ranked by NHL Central Scouting who is mostly likely to need to duck to pass through a low doorway, but has potential to be a top goalie in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Central Scouting’s seventh-ranked North American netminder has had a first two seasons of baptism by fire with the abysmal Halifax Mooseheads, getting credited with just 11 wins in 74 games. However, he’s shown enough talent to warrant an invitation to Hockey Canada’s June 17-20 goaltending camp in Calgary, along with eight other goalies from across the country.

Corbeil could go as early as the third round of the NHL draft. He’s a bit of project, but has much more game experience at the major junior level than the typical ‘tender his age. The 74 appearances he had in the past two seasons, often facing 40-plus shots in a game, probably works out to 85 or 90 games with a stronger club.

With Halifax rebuilding, there is talk Corbeil might be traded in the summer. He could still be in the QMJHL in 2012 when the MasterCard Memorial Cup next comes east, so that could affect where he ends up playing.

1. How would you say your past season progressed, from start to finish?

“The experience I got this year was something you can’t buy, you can’t practice. It’s tough mentally and physically to lose all those games, but I was put in so many situations. All the breakaways, the 2-on-0s, the 3-on-0s, it’s all something I take in a positive way.”

2. In your mind, what would scouts say you have to work on between now and when you’ll be on the cusp of turning pro?

“Puck-handling. I’ve never been someone who plays out of the net a lot. All my life, I’ve never been with teams that would push that or go for that. “Definitely my strength, too. They all know I’m tall. I need to fill out the big body that I have and be able to control my movements the way I want.”

3. What do you consider your most meaningful hockey achievement?

“Probably winning twice (in a row in November 2009) the QMJHL defensive player of the week (award). That was really big. It opened a lot of eyes that weren’t necessarily on me before. That’s definitely something I’m proud of.”

4. Who is your biggest hockey influence?

“My dad, Yves, was a goalie who was drafted by Chicoutimi (in the QMJHL) and he had to have an operation and had a girfriend at the time. He kind of quit everything. Later on, he figured that was a big mistake.

“After all these years, I think he finds the passion in me. He always tells me if you have that good guidance, you can go far and that’s what he wants for me. I’ve never really thanked him for all that and sometimes I can find it kind of annoying, but I couldn’t thank him enough for everything he makes me do, how he pushes me and all the advice he gives me.”

5. What was the most surprising question you were asked when you interviewed with teams at the NHL Scouting Combine?

“I can’t say the team, but I came in and the first question was, ‘Boxers or briefs?’ “

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Sports Canada. Contact him at neatesager@yahoo.ca and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

Updated Friday, Jun 4, 2010