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. Blackhawks tease good injury news for Kane

    Mar 30, 2015, 7:03 PM EDT

    Patrick Kane AP

    Could he be ahead of schedule?

  2. Get your game notes: Kings at Blackhawks

    Mar 30, 2015, 5:33 PM EDT

    Jarret Stoll, Michal Handzus AP

    L.A.’s first time back in Chicago since Game 7 of last year’s Western Conference Final.

  3. Foley sees ‘advantage’ with no state income tax in Nevada

    Mar 30, 2015, 3:56 PM EDT

    Hockey Vision Las Vegas News Conference To Announce NHL Season Ticket Drive Getty Images

    Could be helpful in attracting and retaining free agents.

  4. Foley: NHL has ‘no objection’ as Vegas begins selling tickets to casinos

    Mar 30, 2015, 3:46 PM EDT

    Las Vegas Getty Images

    The drive began by focusing on individuals for season ticket packages.

  5. Jets could get Little back versus Rangers

    Mar 30, 2015, 3:06 PM EDT

    Edmonton Oilers v Winnipeg Jets Getty Images

    “I think it’s going to come right down to the morning skate.”

  6. Habs preaching intensity, looking to avoid season sweep by Bolts

    Mar 30, 2015, 1:58 PM EDT

    Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning Getty Images

    “A win tonight would be good for our team, both physically and mentally.”

  7. Report: Ex-NHLer Deveaux has contract terminated after vicious slash

    Mar 30, 2015, 1:24 PM EDT

    Toronto Maple Leafs v Buffalo Sabres Getty Images

    Incident occurred prior to a promotion game in the Swedish league.

  8. Dubnyk, Atkinson, and O’Reilly are NHL’s three stars of the week

    Mar 30, 2015, 12:15 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Kings v Minnesota Wild Getty Images

    Has the Wild’s savior goalie done enough to make him a Vezina Trophy finalist?

  9. Playoff watch — what the bubble teams need to do

    Mar 30, 2015, 11:23 AM EDT

    David Pastrnak, Chris Kelly, Torey Krug AP

    Bruins in a much better spot after a successful weekend. (Not so for the Sens.)

  10. Wild wade back into college free agent pool, sign pair

    Mar 30, 2015, 10:59 AM EDT

    Vermont v Boston College Vermont v Boston College

    Vermont goalie Brody Hoffman and Minnesota State blueliner Zach Palmquist come aboard.

Featured video

Hammond leads Ottawa's turnaround
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. E. Malkin (2127)
  2. H. Lundqvist (2084)
  3. P. Datsyuk (1936)
  4. D. Dubnyk (1930)
  5. A. Hammond (1791)
  1. B. Little (1662)
  2. K. Shattenkirk (1622)
  3. A. Steen (1538)
  4. D. Hamilton (1535)
  5. K. Letang (1512)