Devils’ Matteau in vs. Bolts, triggering first year of entry-level deal


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 “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.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
Leave a comment

You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?