Following up on a report that Stefan Matteau parted ways with his junior team, QMJHL side Blainville-Broisbriand, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello confirmed Monday the rookie forward has officially been released by the club.
“I have spoken to his general manager [Joel Bouchard] and there is a situation and he is not with the team,” Lamoriello told the New Jersey Star-Ledger. “You never like to hear something like this. I support the junior team in doing what they think is right.
“It’s my understanding he will not be going back at the choice of the team.”
Matteau, who had run afoul of Blainville-Broisbriand coaching and management on previous occasions, quit the team this past Saturday after a playoff loss to Baie-Comeau.
Reports suggest he was upset with his ice time and, instead of traveling with the team back home, opted to ride in a fan bus instead.
Making this uncomfortable situation even more awkward is the fact Matteau’s father, ex-NHL forward Stephane, is one of Blainville-Broisbriand’s assistant coaches.
The decision to quit is a tumultuous end to a year that started brightly for Matteau. The 29th overall pick at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, he made the Devils out of (an abbreviated) training camp and went on to appear in 17 games, scoring three points.
Now, though, basically has nowhere to play.
The Devils have been eliminated from playoff contention and have just three games left in the regular season, while AHL Albany failed to make the Calder Cup playoffs.
As for what the future holds, Lamoriello said the options for next year remain unchanged.
“[Matteau’s] options for next season are the same as they would have been this season. He could’ve been assigned to the American League,” Lamoriello said. “So he still has that option of going to the American League [next season].”