Buzzing The Net - Junior Hockey

New Jersey Devils put Stefan Matteau in AHL, depriving Rimouski of rugged winger

Stefan Matteau is not walkin' through the door for the Rimouski Océanic, who had hoped the 19-year-old would provide an intimidating presence up front for a contending team.

It was worth a shot. The Océanic only had to give up two conditional draft picks in June to get the New Jersey Devils first-rounder after his falling out with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. It was a good buy-low, but New Jersey will indeed send the 19-year-old Matteau to the AHL's Albany Devils.

It is a logical move by New Jersey, putting a projected power winger up against 20-somethings in the AHL instead of fellow teens in the QMJHL. On another level, one wonders if this is intended to help with Matteau's maturation. Being among pros might be a better environment for him than it would be to return to junior, where everything alleged to have happened with the Armada would be chirp fodder for opponents. With Albany, Matteau could ideally move past that.

The Océanic probably could have used some better news, especially since the team dealt away gritty overage wing Francis Beauvillier in the summer so he could play alongside his younger brother with the Shawinigan Cataractes. Four games in, the consensus Telus East Division favourites are just 2-2-0-0 through two weekends and absorbed a faith-shaking 6-2 loss to rival Quebec last weekend. Rimouski has lacked "cohesion," but its main cogs, Philadelphia Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs first-rounders Frédérik Gauthier and Samuel Morin, only rejoined the lineup last weekend after skating in their pro organizations' main camps. Either way, the book seems closed on Matteau ever joining the club, which could affect what Rimouski does in December to ramp up for a playoff run.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to btnblog@yahoo.ca.

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