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Mathias Chouinard HoF Article


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MATHIAS CHOUINARD - CLASS OF S68

 

Position: RW

Birthplace: Sweden

Height: 6'0"

Weight: 180 lbs

Drafted: S18 20th overall, Calgary Wranglers

Username: @Spangle

 

 

Daisuke Kanou at #1 overall. Jukka Hakkinen. Anton Brekker. Tarik Saeijs. The one and only Aidan Shaw. The S18 Entry Draft was full of Hall-of-Fame talent, and with many all-time greats up for grabs, one could excuse a team for missing out on a future star player. The excuses continue to amount the later the draft goes, especially when one considers that the subject of this article came into the draft ranked 26th in TPE in his class--having only earned 17 when his name was called by the Wranglers at #20. A steal for the ages, Chouinard spent the next two seasons in the minors, where he showed respectable potential with high point totals, then proceeding to far exceed expectations in the big league, where he put up points at a rate that, had he played a full eight seasons, would place him at #17 on the all-time points list at the time of writing in S73. It was a slower start that kept Chouinard out of the Hall for more than 40 seasons after he retired, but his accomplishments in the VHL proved him more than worthy of an eventual induction.

 

 

Career Awards

S21 - VHL All-Star

S22 - VHL All-Star

S23 - Continental Cup

S23 - Devon Marlow-Marta Trophy (NA Conference Champion)

S23 - Howe Trophy (Playoff MVP)

S23 - VHL All-Star

S24 - Continental Cup

S24 - Vladimir Kostka Trophy (EU Conference Champion)

S24 - Lemieux Trophy (Most Points)

S24 - VHL All-Star

S25 - Continental Cup

S25 - Vladimir Kostka Trophy (EU Conference Champion)

S25 - VHL All-Star

 

 

S18 (Minot - VHLM)

72 GP / 49 G - 90 A - 119 P / +28 / 94 HIT / 22 SB

 

Out of the draft, Chouinard was understandably assigned to the Minot Gladiators, then the farm club of the Wranglers. Now, 119 points in the VHLM, especially in days of old, doesn't necessarily point to a player with a great future, but the fact that Chouinard existed as an active player out of the third round was certainly enough to please Calgary at the time. It was still improbable at this point that Chouinard would ever put up point totals the likes of these in the VHL, but he was active and updating and had already qualified as a steal.

 

S19 (Minot - VHLM)

72 GP / 82 G - 113 A - 195 P / +53 / 129 HIT / 21 SB

 

Against all odds, this 17-TPE draftee kept chugging along, still playing for Minot but drawing ever closer to greatness. Putting up almost 200 points en route to a season which saw Chouinard win the Oates Trophy for the most assists in the VHLM, he then went on to lead Minot to a Founders' Cup with a playoff performance that saw him take home the Esposito (VHLM Playoff MVP) Trophy along the way. This blistering show made it clear to Calgary--and to the rest of the VHL--that Chouinard was coming, and he was ready for greatness.

 

S20 (CGY)

72 GP / 32 G - 60 A - 92 P / -24 / 23 HIT / 35 SB

 

92 points is a total which wouldn't be out of place in many Hall-of-Famers' prime seasons, making it all the more impressive that Chouinard managed to burst onto the scene with this much in his rookie season. After a quarter of his career down, he was set on making up for lost time, and though fairly high point totals around the league kept him out of the S20 All-Star lineup, and Calgary was far out of the playoffs, he'd begun to make his mark and gave a sign of what was yet to come.

 

S21 (CGY)

72 GP / 55 G - 63 A - 118 P / -17 / 26 HIT / 60 SB

 

Chouinard took the earlier improbability of recording a point total close to that of his S18 campaign and threw it out the window in S21, recording over 100 points for the first time in his VHL career on an otherwise nondescript Calgary team. This would be good enough to put him on his first all-star roster, though his 60 shots blocked as a forward and -17 rating tell of a few defensive woes on the team side. Though the Wranglers would miss the playoffs again by a wide margin, Chouinard's point totals were consistently top-notch, and his team was set to make a turn for the better.

 

S22 (CGY)

72 GP / 50 G - 47 A - 97 P / +24 / 8 HIT / 39 SB

Playoffs: 7 GP / 3 G - 5 A - 8 P / 2 HIT / 5 SB

 

Playoffs! Going into and coming out of a rebuild in a few seasons, Calgary wasn't on top just yet, but managed to give Toronto a run for their money in the first round. Chouinard, as expected, played quite the part in the team's success, once again putting up 50 goals in a regular season which saw him make his second all-star lineup and further establish this third-round pick as an elite player at the big level. As for the team success, well, that was certainly yet to come, but one could not ask for more in Chouinard's last three seasons.

 

S23 (CGY)

72 GP / 43 G - 43 A - 86 P / +14 / 29 HIT / 21 SB

Playoffs: 12 GP / 9 G - 10 A - 19 P / +9 / 3 HIT / 1 SB

 

S23 was not great by Chouinard standards, but certainly stood out for reasons beyond regular-season numbers. On paper, during the regular season, he took a step back, putting in his lowest-ever point total with 86. Even if that may have put him at the back of the minds of some during the season, he stepped up and delivered in the playoffs. With 19 points in 12 games (a pace that would equate to 114 points over a regular-season 72), Chouinard led the Wranglers all the way to a championship, winning the Howe trophy as playoff MVP.

 

S24 (CGY/DAV)

74 GP / 57 G - 67 A - 124 P / +63 / 33 HIT / 18 SB

Playoffs: 11 GP / 5 G - 8 A - 13 P / +7 / 1 HIT / 8 SB

 

Whatever supposed deficiency might have been signaled in S23 had its legitimacy destroyed by Chouinard's S24 campaign, by far his best ever. 124 points speaks for itself, as does a +63, good enough for a win of the Lemieux Trophy (now the Szatkowski) for the league's most points. With new surroundings coming with a trade during the season came the same result--Davos won the Cup in S24, with Chouinard again putting up respectable numbers in support of the championship run.

 

S25 (DAV)

72 GP / 49 G - 58 A - 107 P / +50 / 38 HIT / 32 SB

Playoffs: 11 GP / 6 G - 5 A - 11 P / +6 / 3 HIT / 3 SB

 

S25 had come, and it was time to go out with a bang. Chouinard took the opportunity to break 100 points for the third time in his career, falling just short of the 50-goal mark this time but putting up a +50 and finding himself at the forefront of a Davos team in a season where he would make his fifth straight all-star lineup and, you guessed it, win his third straight championship. Where he went later on in his career, cups followed, and his six goals in the playoffs made sure that his last season would be no exception. 

 

Career Totals

434 GP / 286 G - 338 A - 624 P / +110 / 157 HIT / 205 SB

Playoffs: 41 GP / 23 G - 28 A - 51 P / +22 / 10 HIT / 17 SB

 

Chouinard is, at the time of writing, only #118 on the all-time points list, but only a handful of players with fewer games played sit ahead of him--and the only two of those who have not yet been inducted (Aiden Alexander and Daric Radmonovic) both played in the early days of the league, when playing at Chouinard's level for less than a full career was nothing out of the ordinary. Certainly no player with such a career outside of that time frame saw their efforts go unnoticed with an induction, a fact which by itself proves his presence in the Hall to be justified. With consistent production and playing a large part in three straight championships to boot, here you have it--a blast from the past that's been long overdue.

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