Building the Herd – Matt Selby

#4 Matt Selby

Position: Utility

Born: Birmingham, England

Announced as signed: Bison website, 30th January

 

One day before the transfer deadline, Bison coach Doug Sheppard made the last move of the season as he added Matt Selby from the Coventry Blaze on a two way contract. Selby will play with the Bison but play for the Blaze when available.

17 year old Selby is a product of the Blaze’s junior system and made his first appearance at under 18 level in the 2010/11 season scoring 9 points in 11 games.

The 2011/12 season saw Selby step up his play within the Blaze organisation. At under 18 level he scored 23 points (7+16) in 11 games on defence whilst also scoring 10 points (4+6) for the Blaze’s NIHL side in 31 games. Selby also saw his EIHL debut with the Blaze, dressing 23 games with no points scored. Selby didn’t see much ice time with the big club during that campaign.

This season has seen Selby not play as much for the under 18s (3 games, 5 goals and 3 assists for 8 points) or the NIHL side (2 games) but has played 39 games in the EIHL, scoring 1 assist in a season of ups, downs and injuries for Coventry that has seen Selby’s icetime slightly increased this season before his move to Basingstoke.

Selby played in the world under 20 championships division 1B with Great Britain, scoring a goal in GB’s 4-0 win over Croatia. He’s also been selected for the world under18s alongside new team mate Cameron Wynn.

Selby responded on Twitter giving a message to the Bison fans. “Just experienced my first game with the team, they are a great bunch and gave me a great welcome. I’m hearing nothing but good things about the Bison fans, looking forward to seeing them on my debut!”

So, another new player for me to run the rule over. People who keep tabs on the Elite League will know of Selby but having not watched a great deal of him, I wanted some more ideas about what we could expect so I turned to the experts.

Stuart Coles of SkyBlueHockey.com and The Blaze’s “On Fire” magazine gave his thoughts on Selby, “He’s not going to score masses of points, he’s not an offensive guy. What he does do is go to the boards, battle hard and makes sensible plays. He’s a big lad, 6’1 or so but only 17. He’ll drop the gloves with anyone and given his age he’ll make the odd rookie mistake. But he’s a GB junior with a bright future.” (Oddly Stuart did give me this quote as Selby scored his 2nd assist last night).

If you’re going to start playing for a new team, getting man of the match isn’t the worst way to go about things. Sadly being an away game on a Wednesday night in Telford, the Bison audience was limited to Moose and Planet Ice head honco John Neville but it does wet the appetite of what’s to come from him.

As Stuart laid out, we shouldn’t expect a ton of points from him nor a perfect performance every night. Selby is a youngster, younger than Cam Wynn by a couple of months though he comes from a very different system in Coventry than the one here in Basingstoke. Selby’s held in high regard and whilst he might not have logged tons of shifts or minutes in the season and a bit with the Blaze’s EIHL side, Paul Thompson wouldn’t keep a 16/17 year old about training with the big team if he didn’t think he was worth it.

A player with the versatility to play up front and on defence is critical at the moment given the fact the Bison have been running with 4 defencemen and without a 3rd line forward for a while. Players have been shouldering the load and Coach Sheppard’s systems has seen a variety of line combinations in different situations but Selby’s flexibility and ability gives Sheppard more combinations but when he’s used on defence it will help rest the other 4 guys which is important at the moment.

The situation will benefit club, player and the Blaze. Selby gets a chance to play significant minutes rather than odd shifts for Coventry whilst getting the chance to test himself at a level higher than NIHL One. The Blaze get to use Selby when commitments at EPL allow and he’ll likely still train with the Blaze as he’s based locally. The Bison get an extra talented body looking to develop. Win, win and win it seems.

We’ll all get a good look at young Mr Selby come Saturday. Welcome to the Herd, Matt. We’re looking forward to seeing what you can do.

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