As a long time Devils fan I have watched the beginning of many careers on the ice at the Continental Arena and Prudential Center. I remember Scott Gomez putting up 70 points in his first season and winning the Calder Memorial Trophy. I remember Zach Parise putting up 32 points in his first year and then putting up 31 goals in the next. I’m still experiencing the many attempts of Mattias Tedenby to prove that his speed is enough to keep him in the NHL. I am certain that I will remember the first year(s) of left-winger Stefan Matteau.
It was very ironic that the New Jersey Devils drafted Stefan Matteau with the 29th overall pick of the 2012 NHL Draft. His father, Stéphane, eliminated the Devils in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 1993-1994 season with his famous wrap-around goal past Martin Brodeur. Now, I look forward to a different reason for Devils fans to hear, “Matteau, Matteau, Matteau!!”
If you watch him on television, Stefan Matteau looks to be every bit of the 6’1”, 215 lbs frame he is listed at on the NHL website. He is particularly fast for his size and uses his body well, unlike almost every player the Devils have had since Scott Stevens retired. He plays decently at both ends of the ice, back-checking harder than most of the team, and will certainly improve with more experience. While he has yet to register a point in the big leagues, and has been a healthy scratch recently, Matteau appears to be the combination of grit and skill that the Devils’ offense has lacked for as long as I can remember.
The second the New Jersey Devils announce that Stefan Matteau is here to stay is the second I buy my #15 Devils jersey.