The Montreal Canadiens have traded Devante Smith-Pelly to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Stefan Matteu.
Smith-Pelly had played in 46 games this season with the Canadiens, adding six goals and six assists to the stat sheets in the process. Along with his 12 points, he has a +/- of -6 on the season, 22 PIM, and 60 shots, giving him a shot percentage of 10%. He is undoubtedly a solid option for a bottom-six forward and will be warmly welcomed by the Devils organization.
Smith-Pelly is currently in the final season of a 2-year/$1.6 million contract that was given to him by the Canadiens before the 2014-15 season. The cap hit this season for his contract runs at $800,000, but the Devils will not have to carry all of that. Smith-Pelly was the 42nd overall pick (2nd round) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Anaheim Ducks.
On the other end of the trade is Stefan Matteu, who has only played in 20 games this season for the Devils, and 44 in his three-year NHL career. He has one goal to his name this season, and three goals and two assists over his 44 games for New Jersey. Matteu was the 29th overall pick (1st round) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft by the New Jersey Devils.
LWOS’s Prospect Guru Ben Kerr had this to say about Matteau in August:
#3 Prospect: Stefan Matteau, Left Wing
Born Feb 23 1994 — Chicago, IL
Height 6.02 — Weight 216 – Shoots Left
Drafted by the Devils in the first round, 29th overall in the 2012 NHL Draft
Stefan Matteau improved his goals per game and points per game in his second AHL season, but it was a modest improvement as he still finished with just 27 points in 61 games. He also got a cup of coffee in the NHL, playing seven games and scoring his second career goal.
When you watch young Stefan Matteau, you can definitely 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 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 still needs to work on his discipline and while he was able to avoid major incidents this year, he can still get overly emotional and take a bad penalty at a bad time. He must learn to be physical without crossing the line.
Matteau’s skating is good for a man his size. He has very good top end speed, and has really worked to get better in his first step and acceleration. Increased agility gives him the ability to make quick cuts and changes of direction. He is 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 and play that strong power game.
Matteau might need a little more time at the AHL level, to try and develop his offensive game a little bit more. As it stands he seems to be a safe bet to make the NHL as a bottom six player one-day, but the Devils probably hope that there is a little more offence and a chance he could develop into a top six forward with more seasoning. He likely will get some NHL games as an injury call-up.
We will have more details on this trade as it develops. Follow @lastwordonpuck on Twitter and stay tuned to www.LastWordonSports.com for all of your NHL traded deadline news and analysis.