The Devils have signed Stephan Matteau to a three year entry level contract, the team announced today.
“Stefan Matteau is a size and strength power forward, who we consider to be one of our top prospects,” said General Manager Lou Lamoriello.
Matteau, 18, was the team’s 29th overall pick in the 2012 Entry Level Draft in Pittsburgh. New Jersey selected six forwards and one defenseman, addressing a need for offensive depth.
He joins the Devils’ organization after spending the past two seasons with the United States Development Program. Earlier this month, he attended USA Hockey’s Under-20 Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, NY. The 6-2, 215-lb. forward skated in 46 games for the under-18 squad in 2011-12, recording 15 goals and 17 assists for 32 points and a team-leading 166 penalty minutes. He played for Team USA’s under-17 team in 2010-11, posting seven goals and 11 assists for 18 points and 65 penalty minutes.
Last month, Matteau attended Devils rookie camp, where the team’s brass felt he was one of the best players. The Devils were also impressed with his performance at the Team USA camp last week in Lake Placid.
“We felt very good about him at the rookie camp and we wanted to get him under contract and just get his professional career started, not with any knowledge of where he’ll be playing yet, but so we have the options of doing whatever we think is necessary,” Devils GM Lou Lamoriello said.
The selection of Stephan Matteau was a head scratcher at first. His father, also named Stephen, is known for one of the greatest moments in Rangers history, and gut-wrenching memories for Devils fans. The younger Matteau does not possess elite scoring skills for a first rounder, nor is expected to become the go-to player that Zach Parise was. But that’s not his game. Matteau is a power foward. He plays with high energy & intensity, an in-your-face physical game along the boards, and he has the ability to create space to unload his heavy shot.
He’s considered a safe pick that could become an effective second or third liner that can kill penalties.
Matteau is slated to play in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this season for the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. It’s important to note that his pro contract will start when he begins playing for New Jersey or in Albany. He can go back to juniors after training camp, where is father is an assistant coach with that team.
For a summer of dismay following the departure of Parise, along with the uncertain financial issues surrounding the organization, its enough to make you optimistic that the team is convinced he can make an impact in the near future.
About the Author: Sports Reporter by day, puck stopper between the pipes at night. I was the Locker Room Reporter for the Islanders for WRHU-FM. Currently, I cover the New Jersey Devils on HockeyIndependent.com and Metro Area Hockey on BrooklynFans.com Follow me on Twitter @John_A_Iadevaia