Top-ranked Matheson decides to forgo major junior for NCAA

The Baie-Comeau Drakkar aren’t giving up on Michael Matheson — at leastnot yet. The Halifax Mooseheads, meanwhile, are staying mum.

The Baie-Comeau Drakkar aren’t giving up on Michael Matheson — at least not yet. The Halifax Mooseheads, meanwhile, are staying mum.

The Drakkar, who hold the top pick in Saturday’s QMJHL draft in Drummondville, Que., are discouraged but not defeated after Matheson, the top-ranked prospect, went public yesterday with his decision to eschew major junior for the NCAA.

Matheson’s father, Ron, told Montreal’s West Island Gazette he was “no big fan of the Q” in the first place and after visits to Baie-Comeau to meet the Drakkar and Halifax to meet the Mooseheads, who pick second overall, his opinion remains basically unchanged.

“They’ve come a long way,” he told the paper, of Q teams. “Unfortunately, they don’t tell their story very well.”

Michael Matheson will return to his midget AAA team in Lac St. Louis, Que., and then head to the United States Hockey League in 2011-12, Ron said.

Drakkar general manager Steve Ahern, who told Metro last week he had made a “clear decision” to take Matheson, said the situation is murkier now but he’s still in pursuit of the swift-skating puck-mover.

“It makes me feel bad for the moment, but I have to put some good things on the table,” Ahern said. “I have to do my homework and I have until Friday night to make something happen. We’re not finished (yet). We’re finished at 10 (a.m.) on Saturday.”

A source told Metro earlier this week the Mooseheads are prepared to take sniper Luca Ciampini second overall to shore up their offensively-challenged roster.

But would they grab Matheson if the Drakkar went for another prospect at No. 1 such as Ciampini or hard-shooting blueliner Dominic Poulin?

“We’re not saying yes, we’re not saying no,” said Mooseheads general manager Cam Russell. “We’re not going to tip our hand to anybody.”

– Matthew Wuest is attending the draft in Drummondville, Que. Follow his coverage at www.metronews.ca/qfiles and @metroqfiles on Twitter.