Stefan Matteau’s 2012-13 campaign was memorable for a lot of different reasons, but it ended in an unusual way when QMJHL Blainville-Boisbriand released him during the playoffs and then traded his rights.
His father, former NHLer Stephane Matteau, who was an assistant coach with the squad, revealed that his son got into a heated discussion with head coach Jean-Francois Houle after being benched. Stephane felt that Stefan made “a mistake,” but he still thinks the QMJHL team took things too far by releasing him.
Regardless, the younger Matteau has moved past that incident.
“There’s not much to say,” Matteau told the Bergen Record. “It was just not the best fit (in Blainville-Boisbriand) and I just want to move past it and not go into detail about it. I’m just focused on this week, this summer and I want to make the team next year here.”
Matteau is attending the New Jersey Devils’ development camp now and that’s just one of the first steps towards what he hopes will be a successful training camp for him.
“In September, it’s going to be a whole different camp,” Matteau said. “It’s going to be with the big boys and I want to make a good impression there so I can stay next year.”
The 19-year-old forward played in 17 games with the Devils last season and got some playing time with Ilya Kovalchuk, who has since “retired” and moved to the KHL. Matteau was one of the many Devils players that was “shocked” by the decision. Still, he feels lucky to have gotten a chance to play with Kovalchuk before he left.
Kovalchuk’s departure leaves a big hole in the Devils’ lineup and it has created a potential opportunity for young forwards like Matteau. If he can’t make the NHL roster though, he’s now eligible to play in the AHL over the team that acquired his junior rights, QMJHL Rimouski.
Update: Matteau will miss the remainder of rookie camp with an injury, per NHL.com.