Skip to content

Devils’ Matteau in vs. Bolts, triggering first year of entry-level deal

Feb 7, 2013, 4:49 PM EDT

stefanmatteaugetty Getty Images

After four straight games as a healthy scratch, Devils rookie Stefan Matteau will dress tonight when the Devils take on the Lightning in New Jersery.

It’ll be Matteau’s sixth game of the season, and six is a magic number.

See, junior-eligible players — which Matteau is — are allowed to play five games at the NHL level this season before clubs can return them without “burning” a year of their entry-level deals.

But play the sixth and boom, burned.

Other teams have avoided the singe. The Jets recently returned Mark Scheifele to OHL Barrie after he played four games. Earlier, Philly sent Scott Laughton back to junior after he played five games with the Flyers.

New Jersey dressed Matteau in the first five games of the year, then made him a healthy scratch in the next four, possibly to delay having to make a decision.

Anyway, back to the situation at hand.

On Thursday morning, the club learned that Dainius Zubrus suffered an upper-body injury, meaning Matteau — who’s currently residing in Zubrus’ house! — would draw in for his sixth game of the year.

Devils head coach Peter DeBoer insisted any decisions made regarding Matteau weren’t influenced by his junior eligibility.

“Lou said right from day one he wasn’t going to let contract status stand in the way if he thought Stef could help us,” DeBoer told NJ.com. “So that hasn’t factored into the decision.

“We have Zubrus out and he’s the next left winger available to us and the most ready to play. He’ll go in.”

It should be mentioned that playing in his sixth NHL game only guarantees Matteau one thing — the first year of his entry-level deal has been triggered.

The Devils could still *theoretically* send him back to junior, though it would seem a waste given they’re paying him a pro-rated salary of $843,000 this season, and would waste a full year of his NHL service.

Latest Posts
  1. Get your game notes: Blackhawks at Blues

    Apr 17, 2014, 11:57 AM EDT

    BluesBlackhawks AP

    Classic rivalry will get underway tonight at Scottrade.

  2. Sharks playing the role of underdogs versus Kings

    Apr 17, 2014, 11:50 AM EDT

    Brad Stuart, Justin Williams AP

    Even though they’re not really underdogs.

  3. Get your game notes: Flyers at Rangers

    Apr 17, 2014, 11:02 AM EDT

    Jakub Voracek, Henrik Lundqvist AP

    Both teams bounced back from bad starts to make the playoffs.

  4. St. Louis focused on team rather than own struggles

    Apr 17, 2014, 9:25 AM EDT

    Martin St. Louis Getty Images

    He had eight points in 19 games with New York.

  5. PHT Morning Skate: Four Game 1s start it up tonight

    Apr 17, 2014, 8:25 AM EDT

    Patrick Marleau, Alec Martinez AP

    New York, St. Louis, Denver, and San Jose is where it’s at tonight.

  6. Video: Getzlaf bloodied after taking puck to face

    Apr 17, 2014, 1:19 AM EDT

    Getzlaf2

    A Tyler Seguin bullet, no less.

  7. Bylsma praises ‘formidable’ Bennett-Sutter-Stempniak line

    Apr 17, 2014, 12:03 AM EDT

    Bylsma Getty Images

    The trio was big in Wednesday’s Game 1 victory over the Jackets.

  8. Lightning provide few details about Palat’s injury

    Apr 16, 2014, 11:23 PM EDT

    Tampa Bay Lightning v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

    It’s bad enough to inspire Jon Cooper’s pity, though.

  9. Blue Jackets coach wants more than just moral victories

    Apr 16, 2014, 10:59 PM EDT

    Columbus Blue Jackets v Carolina Hurricanes Getty Images

    “We aren’t here just to go to school. We’re here to win.”

  10. Weise gives Canadiens 1-0 series lead with overtime win

    Apr 16, 2014, 10:41 PM EDT

    Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One Getty Images

    After all that star power in regulation …

  11. Penguins outlast Blue Jackets, take Game 1

    Apr 16, 2014, 10:22 PM EDT

    Columbus Blue Jackets v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game One Getty Images

    Pittsburgh scores three unanswered goals to win.

  12. WATCH LIVE: Dallas Stars at Anaheim Ducks (Game 1)

    Apr 16, 2014, 10:14 PM EDT

    StarsDucks AP

    The West’s No. 1 seed takes on the final wild card qualifier.

  13. Video: Tyutin avoids penalty during Sutter’s breakaway

    Apr 16, 2014, 9:22 PM EDT

    penaltyornot

    Did the Penguins deserve a power play or penalty shot?

Featured video

Are Penguins vulnerable vs. Columbus?
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. E. Malkin (4613)
  2. T. Oshie (3585)
  3. M. Duchene (3422)
  4. B. Bishop (2979)
  5. M. Brodeur (2906)