NHL Draft Prospect Profile #33: Stefan Matteau » Last Word On Sports

NHL Draft Prospect Profile #33: Stefan Matteau

May 08 2012

Drafted 29th overall by the New Jersey Devils.

If the name Stefan Matteau is familiar to hockey fans, it should be.  Stefan is the son of former NHLer Stephane Matteau who scored the famous Game 7 OT goal for the New York Rangers in the 1994 Conference Final victory over the New Jersey Devils en route to winning the Stanley Cup.   Matteau joins Griffin Reinhart, and Henrik Samuelsson as prospects who are sons of former NHLers in this year’s entry draft.

Left Wing
Born Feb 23 1994 — Chicago, IL
Height 6.01 — Weight 207

2010-11U.S. National Development TeamUSHL28459470
2011-12U.S. National Development TeamUSHL186410934

Matteau was born in Chicago during his father’s time with the Chicago Blackhawks.  He has spent the last two years playing for the US NTDP. Matteau had hoped to play for the US in the recent IIHF Under 18 World Hockey Championships but was ruled ineligible due to a little known IIHF rule which requires a player to play 3 seasons after the age of 10 in the country who he wishes to compete for.  Matteau was declared ineligible as he has been playing hockey in Canada except for these last 2 years.  Matteau was originally committed to play NCAA hockey at the University of North Dakota, but has since dropped out of that commitment and announced he will be joining the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada of the QMJHL.

When you watch young Stefan Matteau, you can definetely see the influence that his father has had on his son’s game.  Like his father, Matteau is a gritty, hard working, winger who is capable in all three zones.  Matteau seems to relish playing a physical game, is effective on the boards winning battles, and protecting the puck in the cycle game.  He is more likely to bull through a defender than to go around them.  Matteau has a hard, heavy wrist shot and a decent release.  When Matteau doesn’t have the puck in the offensive zone, you can find him near the opponents crease.  He gets to the front of the net and causes havoc when he’s there attempting to screen the goalie, tip in goals, and bang in rebounds.  Matteau just loves initiating contact and is a very physical player.  He’s also likely to be found right in the middle of any after the whistle scrums.  His offensive game is a little limited by his average passing skills and vision, and his average hands making moves in tight to the goal, and around defenders.

Matteau is a smart defensive player.  He has very good positioning and is active in the defensive zone.  He is often used in a penalty killing role for the US-NTDP team.  He uses his stick to effectively cut down on passing and shooting lanes, and uses his physical game as effectively in the defensive zone as he does in the offensive zone.  He can however sometimes have issues with especially quick opponents.

Matteau’s skating is a bit of a work in progress.  He has decent top end speed, but he needs serious work on his first step quickness and his acceleration.  He is however very strong on his skates and has great balance.  Its very difficult to knock Matteau off the puck, and he has a powerful stride when he gets going which helps him to charge the net effectively.

Matteau also needs to work on his discipline.  He has a tendency to take bad penalties at key times, and has even been suspended on occassion, causing him to miss games.  Learning how to play a physical game without going over the edge will be his next challenge.

Matteau has the potential to be a top 6 winger in the NHL, but he will need to continue to work on his game to get there.  We’d compare his maximum potential to be a cross between his father and Tomas Holmstrom of the Detroit Red Wings.

… and thats the Last Word.


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