The New Jersey Devils announced on Tuesday that they have signed their first-round draft pick Stefan Matteau to a three-year entry–level contract.
It is a two-way deal that will award the Chicago, IL native $842,500 a year, adding up to a total of $2.527 million.
The 18-year old was chosen by New Jersey with the 29th pick in the NHL Draft this past June. The 6’2”, 215 lbs. winger is expected to play for Blainville-Boisbriand Armada of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where his dad is an assistant coach. Like any youngster in an organization, Matteau is hoping to make the big team out of training camp.
Devils General Manager Lou Lamoriello said little, but did not rule out the possibility.
“I don’t even want to talk about that. He had a good camp up in Lake Placid. It’s his size and strength and also his hockey sense is maybe better than I thought.”
The way the team is currently constructed, I don’t see the benefit in sending Matteau to the NHL right away. The kid is 18 years old; let him continue to grow, both genetically and on the ice. The Devils are finally in a good spot in terms of contracts on the books. Outside of Ilya Kovalchuk’s deal, they actually have quite a bit of salary cap space. Now, the ownership problems may certainly come into play down the road but as far as definite.
The only way I would say the Devils should have Matteau play with the big club is if the Devils were in full rebuild mode. With the team coming off its fifth Stanley Cup Finals appearance, they are clearly not in that position. There is no need to rush anyone to the Devils. This lineup is pretty well set, even with the loss of Alexei Ponikarovsky and Zach Parise. Other young talents who have spent some time in the minors should get the first crack, like Mattias Tedenby.