Feb 7, 2013, 4:49 PM EST
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.
Dec 6, 2013, 3:00 AM EST
No timetable for return.
Dec 6, 2013, 2:15 AM EST
Patrick Roy should know how this feels.
Dec 6, 2013, 1:35 AM EST
Bottom of the Metropolitan Division.
Dec 6, 2013, 1:02 AM EST
Triumph in the face of adversity.
Dec 6, 2013, 12:42 AM EST
Bad night for Colorado.
Dec 6, 2013, 12:14 AM EST
Still trying to find consistency.
Dec 5, 2013, 11:48 PM EST
Right to the point.
Dec 5, 2013, 11:25 PM EST
Pacioretty says he feels ‘awful’ for Boychuk incident.
Dec 5, 2013, 11:01 PM EST
Expectation is that he’ll be OK.
Dec 5, 2013, 10:35 PM EST
They can thank their goalie for two points.
Dec 5, 2013, 10:14 PM EST
Tough night for defensemen across NHL.
Dec 5, 2013, 9:50 PM EST
Pascal Dupuis had only two shifts in second period before leaving the game.
Dec 5, 2013, 9:25 PM EST
Tampa Bay already has a full sickbay.
Dec 5, 2013, 8:51 PM EST
He won’t return tonight.
Dec 5, 2013, 8:29 PM EST
He ranks second on the team in shorthanded minutes.
Dec 5, 2013, 7:57 PM EST
Marek Mazanec has done a fine job in his absence.
Dec 5, 2013, 7:22 PM EST
Their reinforcements are at very different stages in their careers.
Dec 5, 2013, 6:42 PM EST
He’ll make life a little easier for Curtis McElhinney while he fills in for Sergei Bobrovsky.
Dec 5, 2013, 6:11 PM EST
The Stars will play against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Dec 5, 2013, 5:19 PM EST
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