Matt Lashoff's early years were spent in the Avon Old Farms prep school program in Connecticut before joining the US National Talent Development Program in Ann Arbor, Michigan for the 2002-2003 season. The previous summer, he was selected in the third round, forty-ninth overall, in the OHL Priority Draft by the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds. Lashoff eventually chose to forego a career the NCAA after his rights were traded to the Kitchener Rangers, where he played three seasons in the OHL. In 2003-2004, his first season of Canadian junior hockey, Lashoff scored 5 goals and 24 points in 62 games with 97 penalty minutes. The following season, 2004-2005, he posted 4 goals and 22 points in 44 games, and at year's end he was ranked the twelvth best North American skater prospect by NHL Central Scouting. Lashoff was selected 22nd overall by the Boston Bruins in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. He played one more season of junior hockey in 2005-2006, amassing an impressive 7 goals and 47 points to go along with 146 penalty minutes in 56 games. Lashoff had 1 goal and 2 points in a 7 game amateur tryout with the Providence Bruins of the AHL after his junior season ended, and then in 2006-2007 he had an impressive rookie season with the P-Bruins, potting 11 goals and 36 points in 64 games for Boston's top affiliate. Lashoff also made his NHL debut in the 2006-2007 season, posting 2 assists in 12 games. Lashoff's most memorable moment of the 2006-2007 season, however, came at the AHL All-Star skills competition when he completed a behind-the-back shootout goal that became an instant YouTube classic. At season's end, Lashoff was named to the AHL All-Rookie Team. The following year in 2007-2008, Lashoff matched his AHL point production with 9 goals and 36 points in 60 games. He also appeared in 18 games for Boston, scoring his first NHL goal on December 31st, 2007 against the Atlanta Thrashers. He finished the year with 1 goal and 5 points at the NHL level. 2008-2009, however, turned out to be a disappointment for Lashoff as he was passed on the Bruins depth chart by fellow defensive prospect Matt Hunwick. He posted 5 goals and 21 points in 33 games with the P-Bruins and a lone assist for Boston before being dealt at the trade deadline along with Martins Karsums in exchange for veteran Mark Recchi and a 2010 second round pick. Lashoff was scoreless in 2 games with Norfolk of the AHL before being promoted to Tampa Bay where he posted 7 assists in 12 games after inheriting power play duties from an injured Cory Murphy. Lashoff's younger brother Brian is an undrafted prospect who was signed out of junior by the Detroit Red Wings.
"He has breathtaking skating ability and really soft hands passing the puck on the power play. He could easily be a #2 defenseman in the league if he commits to filling in the holes in his game." -Pete, BoltProspects
Lashoff is quite possibly the best skater of any defenseman in the Lightning organization, which is quite a statement considering the organization is also home to Paul Ranger, Andrej Meszaros, and Victor Hedman. His straight line speed is impressive, and his agility, balance, and lateral movement is world class. He has strong offensive instincts and excellent hands that he uses to distribute the puck effectively on the power play.
Boston gave up on Lashoff because he never has consistently shown willingness to play with an edge in the defensive third of the rink. He's generally in decent position defensively, but because he is so slight in build he can be overpowered by larger forwards. Although he is an excellent puck distributor on the power play, his shot is not threatening to NHL penalty kills.
Athletically, Lashoff has the ability to be every bit as good as fellow Lightning defensemen Paul Ranger and Andrej Meszaros. If he bulks up and takes the body more consistently, he can be a #2 defenseman in the NHL capable of playing a lot of minutes due to his superb skating ability. However, if he doesn't improve in those areas, he'll never be more than a third pair defenseman.