Prospect Watch Update: Denton Mateychuk taking home all of the WHL hardware

The Columbus Blue Jackets have a potential superstar developing with the WHL's Moose Jaw Warriors.
Moose Jaw Warriors v Edmonton Oil Kings
Moose Jaw Warriors v Edmonton Oil Kings / Jonathan Kozub/GettyImages

What a month it has been for Moose Jaw Warriors captain Denton Mateychuk. The Columbus Blue Jacket prospect capped off his 19 year old season by being named WHL defenseman of the year - then followed it up by winning the league's playoff MVP award en-route to a WHL title.

The Warriors will head to the Memorial Cup, joining the QMJHL's Drummondville Voltigeurs, and the OHL's London Knights and (host team) Saginaw Spirit.

This was the first WHL championship run by the Moose Jaw Warriors, and they did it on the backs of several high end NHL prospects.

They were led by their captain and top Blue Jacket prospect Denton Mateychuk. He was dominant all season, scoring 17 goals and 75 points in 52 regular season games, while carrying a +35 rating.

He also starred for Team Canada at the World Junior Championships, anchoring their top defense pair and picking up 4 assists in 5 games.

Then, he stood out in the WHL playoffs, scoring 11 goals and 30 points in 20 games - along with a +19 rating - earning the MVP award in Moose Jaw's championship run. His 30 points were second amongst all skaters in the entire league, just two behind teammate Jagger Firkus.

Those 30 points also gave him the 5th-highest playoff total by a blue liner in WHL history. Lest we skim over the fact that the WHL has a rich history of sending plenty of top quality defensemen to the NHL.

The last time a player won both the WHL defenseman of the year and playoff MVP honors in the same season was in 1995, when Kamloops defenseman Nolan Baumgartner took home both awards.

To put that into deeper perspective: Mateychuk wasn't even born for another 9 years.

He just turned in one of the most impressive seasons by a WHL defenseman, ever.

Mateychuk will turn pro after this season. He's already signed to his three-year entry-level contract by the Blue Jackets, so it's either Columbus or the Cleveland Monsters for him this fall.

With Jake Bean's contract expiring this summer, I have to wonder if he has an inside track on stepping right into the NHL.

But, with that said, I think some seasoning in the AHL could be really beneficial here. Let's not forget that Mateychuk is a little bit on the small side (5'11", 192 pounds); it will probably take him a little time to adjust to the physical rigors of pro hockey.

Keeping his confidence high while allowing him to round out his overall game, should be the plan here. Wherever he starts next season, I'm excited to see Denton at the next level.