The Canadiens acquired 6’2” left wing Stefan Matteau from the New Jersey Devils in return for right wing Devante Smith-Pelly. It was Marc Bergevin’s second move of the day. At noon he picked up right winger Mike Brown off the waiver wire from San Jose.
The trade was simply a matter of two teams moving a problem. Smith-Pelly had become a spare part with no future in Montreal while, by his lack of activity it was clear Matteau had nothing to offer the Devils.
In terms of attitude and maturity, the Canadiens may be inheriting an earlier version of Jonathan Drouin.
In 2012 Matteau was drafted at the end of the first round (29th overall) from Blainville-Boisbriand Armada of the QMJHL.. He made the Devils right out of training camp but lasted only seventeen games before being returned to junior. The demotion didn’t sit well with Matteau and after a number of run-ins with the Armada coaching staff, he wound up being suspended for insubordination in the middle of a QMJHL playoff series. He turned pro with the Devils the next season and spent the year with their Albany farm team where he scored 13 goals and 26 points in 67 games.
This season he earned the reputation in New Jersey of being a bit of a hothead who took bad penalties and never came close to playing up to the level of a first round draft choice despite his size and the scoring talent he showed as a junior. As a result he was a healthy scratch in 33 of the Devils first 53 games this season.
He suffered a facial fracture during Devils practice February 12th which caused him to miss seven games. Over the weekend Matteau was sent to the Devils Albany farm team on a conditioning assignment. He played in one game Sunday night and was recalled Monday morning it time for the trade. Sum total for his year with the Devils, 1 goal, 0 assists in 20 games.
It’s apparent the Devils have given up on him. Now he becomes a project of the Canadiens coaching staff. He is earning 612-thousand this year and next. Then he’ll be a restricted free agent.
The Canadiens will play San Jose Monday night so Mike Brown simply moved his equipment from one dressing room to the other. He took part in the Canadiens pre-game skate and has been issued uniform number 13.
Brown is a tough guy with absolutely no offensive ability. In almost 400 career NHL games he has 18 goals and in his 44 games this season with San Jose he has one goal and 2 assists. He also has 120 hits and 63 minutes in penalties.
He has been a healthy scratch for all but one game since January 24th.
Brown is earning 1.25 million this season. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent July first.