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Devils prospect Matteau fixing up his game in AHL

Feb 18, 2014, 8:34 PM EST

Stefan Matteau Getty Images

New Jersey Devils forward prospect Stefan Matteau got a taste of NHL life last season when he played 17 games.

After being sent back to junior hockey last season (where things got a bit tumultuous), he’s spending this season in the AHL with the Albany Devils and it’s doing him a lot of good as Randy Miller of NJ.com shares.

“At the beginning of the year, I had to have a little chat with him about playing on the perimeter and trying to play a skill game,” said Albany coach Rick Kowalsky. “When he’s on his game, he’s tough to get the puck off of down low. And when he goes to the net, he’s just a force. It’s just a matter of doing it all the time and translating that to the next level.”

Matteau playing in the AHL instead of juniors was a bit of a curious move on the Devils’ part, but so far things are working out for the nearly 20-year-old forward. He has nine goals and 19 points with Albany this season to go along with 52 penalty minutes.

Learning to play the pro game on the fly the way he has the past two seasons will have its share of ups and downs. Devils management hopes it turns Matteau into one of the top power forwards in the league.

  1. martysbetter - Feb 18, 2014 at 9:29 PM

    People love to rag on the Devils for taking him 29th overall in the 2012 draft but I think they saw the opportunity to grab a highly projectable forward for a system that is completely barren of forward prospects. This kid is going to be a pain in the ass to play against, he fits “Devil’s Hockey” to a T and I can’t wait for him to come up and be a player that every fan around the league loves to hate – until he becomes a UFA and a certain large market Canadian team decides to throw seven-years and $36.75 million at him.

    Wait..

    • idonthavethebloodyoucrave - Feb 18, 2014 at 10:12 PM

      You’d be lucky if this guy turns into half of what Clarkson was. He just doesn’t have the skill set. Not surrendering the 29th overall pick in a weak draft was beyond stupid for Lou. And that’s putting it kindly.

      • shaundre93 - Feb 19, 2014 at 12:52 AM

        Because Clarkson was an immediate impact player and had a great skill set coming out of the draft. Had nothing to do with good prospect development and a hardworking player… sounds to me like Matteau could be exactly the same player. Then again, he could be a bust. You never really know.

      • 950003cups - Feb 19, 2014 at 1:56 AM

        Let me give you all a brief history on Clarkson against Matteau.

        Clarkson played under DeBoer in the juniors where he excelled. He was NEVER DRAFTED to the NHL. He was an unsigned FA. His skill set was how accurate he could connect his fist to an opponents nose until DeBoer was hired as the Devils head coach. That’s when Clarkson had got his game back. It was under his old junior coach. That why he’s again struggling.

        Matteau has a big body. He can skate today much better than Clarkson. He has an NHL pedigree. He’s VERY strong on the puck along the boards. He sets up camp in a goalies crease at the drop of the puck. He has decent 2-way skills that needs developing. He seems like he can maybe brawl like Clarkson did. Also was projected to go in the middle of the first round on many mock drafts.

        No comparison at all to their skills and style of play. Two completely different skill sets. Both can be effective under the correct coaching. But Matteau has that upbringing that few players have which may desperate him from the pack the way Parise’s did.

  2. 950003cups - Feb 18, 2014 at 10:11 PM

    Matteau Jr could be a good player for many teams. He’s big, strong, and not afraid to get rough. Add that he’s grown up in an NHL home, and you might have a good player who will leave the Devils to “Go Home” on July 1, 2021.

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