The first round of the NHL draft is complete, and the New Jersey Devils have made their youngster-selection to look forward to in coming years. The Devils selected Stefan Matteau from the Blainville, Quebec. The 29th pick for the Devils accumulated 41 points from 19 goals and 22 assists in two seasons with the United States NTDP (National Team Development Program).
If you’re asking one to wait a minute because the name sounds familiar, it is a familiar name. Stefan’s father, Stephane, was the game-winning scorer for the New York Rangers against the Devils in the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals. Stephane’s wrap-around goal on Martin Brodeur was a bragging right for the cross-river rivals until this past season where the Devils one-upped that memory.
The Rangers had the opportunity to bring the younger Matteau to New York. With their prior, 28th pick they opted with Defenseman Brady Skjei from Lakeville North High School in Minnesota.
Stefan, who was just three months old when his father scored the Game 7 goal against the Devils, should be quite a beefy addition to the Devils’ forwards once he joins. Stefan is 6’2” and weighs 210 lbs. His relatively large size is accompanied by a left-handed shot. His favorite shootout move is a fake from backhand to forehand.
While with the NTDP 2011, he also played his part in helping the team acquire a silver medal with six points in as many games. In his most recent season with the team he earned 15 goals and 17 assists in 46 games. His scouting report included him being ranked the top skater on the developmental team.
Is it a surprise to Stefan that he was selected as a New Jersey Devil? Yes.
“It’s obviously pretty surprising considering the history of my name,” he said in an interview with reporters following his selection. “I’m in shock myself.”
His draft card says his favorite team has been the Rangers, but now that he is selected as a Devil, the organization has a chance to comfort him enough into changing his mind. According to his own words, including comments about “What if” he was selected to be a New York Ranger, his transition to a liking of the Devils may have already begun.
“If I would have went to the Rangers I think it would have been a lot of pressure. I think it’s good for me, and I’m really proud to be a Devil,” Stefan said.
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