Stefan Matteau

End of an era in New Jersey as Shero replaces Lamoriello as GM


The NHL’s longest-serving GM is done.

Lou Lamoriello, who’s been in charge in New Jersey since 1987, has relinquished his title as general manager to former Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero.

“This is my decision with 100 percent support of ownership,” Lamoriello said on a conference call, adding that he would retain his role as president of hockey operations. “Ray is well-respected throughout the hockey industry and knows what it takes to win.

“His 22 seasons of NHL front-office experience will be beneficial to the New Jersey Devils organization. I look forward to working alongside Ray.”

Lamoriello, 72, steps away from his GM role after winning three Stanley Cups and leading the Devils to the playoffs all but three times between 1988 and 2012. The club has failed to make the postseason in each of the last three seasons, however, and Lamoriello has faced increasing criticism following several failed free agent acquisitions.

“Teams and personnel dictate changes,” Lamoriello said. “Ray might do things just a little different than I do.”

Shero, 52, has been out of work since being fired by Pittsburgh last summer. During his time with the Penguins, Shero captured one Stanley Cup (in 2009) in eight years on the job. He will immediately be tasked with hiring the club’s next head coach, as the Devils finished last season with Adam Oates and Scott Stevens behind the bench.

With this hire, Shero falls out of contention with the vacant Boston Bruins GM gig, which he was rumored to be shortlisted for.

“It’s a great situation for me,” Shero said during Wednesday’s call. “I’m really looking forward to it.”

Shero has plenty of work ahead of him. Aside from the coaching search, he holds the sixth overall pick at this June’s draft, as well as No. 36 and 41 (the latter acquired in the Jaromir Jagr trade with Florida.) Shero will also need to work on new contracts for RFAs Stefan Matteau, Adam Larsson and Eric Gelinas, and decide what he wants to do with veteran UFAs (Michael Ryder, Martin Havlat, Steve Bernier, Jordin Tootoo, Scott Gomez, Bryce Salvador, Peter Harrold and Mark Fraser.)

Give the names on that list and the regime change from Lamoriello to Shero, the Devils could be a very different-looking team in 2015-16.

Note: Lamoriello went out of his way to thank Penguins CEO David Morehouse and the entire organization for their cooperation in the Shero hiring process, but noted there would be no compensation going to Pittsburgh. This offseasons is the first of the NHL’s re-instituted policy to award teams compensatory draft picks should their executives or coaches be hired by other teams.

Devils’ Matteau (broken finger) leaves Worlds, won’t need surgery

Stefan Matteau’s time with Team USA at the World Championships is over before it ever really got started.

Matteau has been sent home from the Czech Republic after suffering a broken index finger, per the Star-Ledger. The young Devils prospect joined the American club after spending most of the year with AHL Albany, appearing in seven games at the NHL level.

“(Matteau) does not need an operation, but he cannot play,” Devils GM Lou Lamoriello explained. “We’ll have him checked out.”

Team USA is currently in the midst of its tournament opener against Finland. The Worlds were thought to be a good experience for the 21-year-old Matteau, as he’d be playing alongside a host of other promising young players, including a trio of collegians in Jack Eichel, Jimmy Vesey and Mike Reilly.

Devils prospect Matteau fixing up his game in AHL


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 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.

Grigorenko rejoins Sabres


Mikhail Grigorenko is a Buffalo Sabre again.

But for how long, nobody knows.

On Tuesday, GM Darcy Regier confirmed the Russian rookie was back with the club after being dispatched to QMHJL Quebec on Mar. 15.

Quebec’s season ended on Friday with a playoff loss to Rouyn-Noranda, meaning Grigorenko was available for selection at both the NHL and AHL level.

“Grigo” had 14 points in 11 postseason games for the Remparts.

Regier said the 18-year-old will start with the Sabres and, eventually, a decision will be made to see if he goes to Rochester.

Prior to getting demoted, Grigorenko had one goal and four assists in 22 games with Buffalo and, since he played more than five games in the NHL, the first year of his three-year, entry-level contract wasn’t delayed.

(Or, in more dramatic terms, it will was “burned.”)

Buffalo selected Grigorenko in the first round (12th overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He is one of just six ’12 draftees to make his NHL debut this season, joining Nail Yakupov, Alex Galchenyuk, Filip Forsberg, Scott Laughton and Stefan Matteau.

Devils send Matteau back to juniors

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New Jersey Devils rookie forward Stefan Matteau will have to finish his season in Quebec.

Mikael Lalancette of TVA Sports in Quebec reports the Devils have sent last year’s first-round pick back to Blainville-Broisbrand after playing 17 games with New Jersey this season. In that time, Matteau scored one goal and had two assists while averaging just over nine minutes of ice time per game. The Quebec league is about to begin their playoffs and it would seem likely he would head to the AHL once his team’s season is over.

Matteau is the second junior player to be sent back to the QMJHL this week. He joins Buffalo’s Mikhail Grigorenko who was sent back to the Quebec Remparts on Friday to make room for Ville Leino.