All week leading up to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh, we’ll be profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Friday in the first round. Nothing too in-depth. Just enough so you know who they are and what they’re about.
Stefan Matteau (Center)
Height: 6′ 2″ Weight: 210 Shoots: Left
Team: United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP)
Country: United States
NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 17 skater in North America
What kind of player is he?
Much like his father, former New York Rangers forward Stephane Matteau (sorry Devils fans), Stefan is big and knows how to utilize his size. Scouts like his physicality and ability to play on the edge.
Matteau had 32 points in 46 games for the USNTDP this season…with 166 penalty minutes (!!!). If the Maple Leafs were picking lower than fifth overall, such truculence would be nearly impossible for Brian Burke to pass on.
Matteau is a power forward by definition and he’ll likely play the part at the next level. Most mock drafts have him going in the late teens, early 20s.
“He plays like a bull in a china shop as he bangs and crashes his way though the neutral zone on his way to the net. He is at his best when he aggressive on the forecheck and drives to the net without fear.” – Shane Malloy, amateur scout and author of “The Art Of Scouting.”
More draft profiles:
Cristoval ‘Boo’ Nieves
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.