Feb 7, 2013, 4:49 PM EDT
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.
May 25, 2013, 12:20 AM EDT
Now, that’s a toe-drag.
May 24, 2013, 11:56 PM EDT
Was Friday’s loss his last NHL games?
May 24, 2013, 11:15 PM EDT
Pittsburgh wins in five games.
May 24, 2013, 10:47 PM EDT
Bad blood, although this seemed unnecessary.
May 24, 2013, 10:31 PM EDT
Big developments coming out of the desert.
May 24, 2013, 10:27 PM EDT
Await winner of Boston-New York.
May 24, 2013, 10:09 PM EDT
May 24, 2013, 9:50 PM EDT
L.A. can move to conference final with a win over the Sharks in Game 6.
May 24, 2013, 9:19 PM EDT
Not speaking about Bobrovsky, but in general.
May 24, 2013, 8:50 PM EDT
You be the judge.
May 24, 2013, 8:41 PM EDT
May 24, 2013, 8:00 PM EDT
Including one of his coaching rivals from the QMJHL.
May 24, 2013, 7:01 PM EDT
Dan Bylsma sticking with the same lineup.
May 24, 2013, 6:05 PM EDT
Kevin Prendergast (pictured) and longtime NHL netminder Ron Tugnutt were let go.
May 24, 2013, 5:08 PM EDT
“The NHL remains committed to securing the Coyotes’ future in Glendale under new ownership, and we believe Don’s long-term agreement evidences that he is equally committed,” said the deputy commish.
May 24, 2013, 4:28 PM EDT
He’s missed the entire series with a broken hand.
May 24, 2013, 4:27 PM EDT
Craig MacTavish has a few things he’d like in return.
May 24, 2013, 3:20 PM EDT
“Hopefully, we’ll find that chemistry,” says Spezza.
May 24, 2013, 3:14 PM EDT
Just a few days after turfing assistant coach Peter Horachek.
May 24, 2013, 2:51 PM EDT
Aside from, you know, facing elimination from the Stanley Cup playoffs.
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