Eighteen years after his father broke the hearts of New Jersey Devils fans everywhere, his son has a contract with the very same team.
New Jersey signed first round draft pick Stefan Matteau to an entry-level contract. As per club rules, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
Matteau, 18, was the 29th overall pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft. He spent the last two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development program, collecting 32 points (15g, 17a) and 166 penalty minutes for the under-18 squad this past season. He also participated in USA Hockey’s Under-20 Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid earlier this month.
While he’s expected to play for the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada of the QMJHL next season, Matteau said he’s looking to make the NHL roster this season. He participated in the Devils prospect camp this summer, and earned praise from general manager Lou Lamoriello.
Admittedly, one of my weaker points of hockey knowledge is the prospect pool. With so many players in several countries, I haven’t had the time to catch up on the big names and the late-round steals.
Thankfully, Jared Ramsden does this all the time. Ramsden writes for Hockey’s Future, specifically covering the New Jersey Devils. He found some time to answer a few questions I sent him about the Devils’ prospects and this year’s draft. Here is the interview:
Last Friday, the Devils signed both Mattias Tedenby and Jacob Josefson to three-year, entry-level contracts. The Swedish players, selected only one year apart, will attend both rookie and training camp this season. But the big question facing both players is this – can they produce immediately?
This past season was a great showing for Devils’ prospects. Players like Mark Fraser, Vladimir Zharkov and Niclas Bergfors all received big minutes and contributed immediately. Other prospects, such as Matt Halischuk, had smaller roles, but still contributed effectively. Some players, such as Fraser, have a good opportunity to make the team next season. And it looks like both Tedenby and Josefson will have the same opportunity.
When talking about both prospects, Devils’ general manager Lou Lamoriello expected the players to be ready for the NHL.
“In our opinion we think they should be ready to make the next step to the NHL,” Lamoriello said to Bergen Record reporter Tom Gulitti. “They both had good seasons in the Elite League in Sweden. They’ve both had all the international competition they need.”
Lamoriello even went as far to say he believed there’s a good chance both players will be on the roster next season, even though he still has yet to find a coach. With all this positive talk and high expectations surrounding Tedenby and Josefson, I’d like to take a look at each players and weigh in with my expectations of them for this season.
Mattias Tedenby – LW
Tedenby, from everything I’ve read, seems to be the real deal. The Swedish winger, only 5’9″ tall, possess great speed and even better offensive creativity. Tedenby, the Devils 2008 first-round pick (24th overall), doesn’t shy away from contact, seemingly willing to throw his body around and play physical hockey. Scouts have also praised his acceleration, and some even compare him with Zach Parise.
But there’s always some flaws as well. In the reports I’ve read, Tedenby gets bashed for not playing good defensive hockey. Some scouts believe he can be too offensive minded, which diminishes his backchecking and defensive abilities. His size has also been questioned, but it seems like anyone under 5’11″ usually faces questions about durability, etc. in the NHL
Overall, Tedenby seems to be a solid NHL prospect. I do believe he spent some time in camp with the Devils this past offseason, but I could be wrong. From the reports I’ve read, he could easily become the next Bergfors and, potentially, the next Parise. It’ll be interesting to watch him develop through both rookie and training camp. I could see Tedenby making the team as a fourth-line winger, with the opportunity to move up the depth chart based on play.
Here’s some video of a Tedenby goal. The stickhandling and shot are both pretty nasty:
Continue reading after the jump for the prospect profile of Jacob Josefson.