Orlando signs former Gopher Taylor Matson

A small ECHL acquisition normally wouldn't be newsworthy outside of a tweet. Maybe there would be a mention of Shades. When a Gopher signs with Minnesota's ECHL affiliate, however, I have to write about it.

It's a rule.

Former University of Minnesota hockey captain Taylor Matson has signed with the Orlando Solar Bears. Matson, who was selected by Vancouver in the 6th round of the 2007 NHL Draft, returns to hockey after being sidelined by a torn ACL last season. It's the latest injury for the Mound, MN native. Knee injuries cut the forward's first two seasons with the Gophers short.

"Matson brings energy, speed, and puck pressure to our line up," Orlando head coach Vince Williams said in a statement. "He has good overall skill and plays the game hard."

When healthy, Matson is an excellent third-line player. He scored 33 points for Minnesota his senior season at Minnesota while playing in the bottom-six alongside current senior Nate Condon. During that time Matson was one of the better penalty killers in the WCHA and his endless hustle did not go unrewarded.

That doesn't translate to the NHL although speaking of the highest pro league isn't the biggest issue for Matson at the moment. Currently there's the matter of being healthy. The 6'0", 190 lbs forward has to prove he can contribute on the ice as a professional hockey player and the ECHL is a start. There are worse, non-Shades places to begin a comeback.

At the very least, he does return to Florida where a Matson-captained University of Minnesota played in the Frozen Four in 2012.

Photo Credit: Minnesota Athletics

Follow First Round Bust on Twitter @FRBHockey. You can also follow Nate @gopherstate.

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