Hey, Rimouski: he’s your problem now.
That was the message the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada sent to the QMJHL after sending Stefan Matteau to the Rimouski Océanic Friday. The Armada will receive conditional picks in the third round this season and the second round next season to complete the deal. The deal effectively washes the Armada’s hands of the young forward, who spent most of the year with the club, playing two months in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils in between.
The marriage of the Matteaus and Blainville-Boisbriand was anything but smooth. The last straw was Stefan’s reaction to getting benched in Game 2 of the Armada’s semifinal against the Baie-Comeau Drakkar. Matteau reportedly got into a shouting match with head coach J-F Houle and was promptly cut from the team, returning home with his dad, now-former assistant coach and former NHLer Stephane, on the team’s fan bus.
All indications point to Matteau playing, or at least starting, in the AHL next season with the Devils’ farm team in Albany. Matteau was drafted from the U.S. under-18 team, meaning he can play in the AHL before reaching his 20-year-old season. If Matteau doesn’t report to the Océanic, the two picks will be returned to Rimouski.
Recently, players like Washington Capitals defenceman John Carlson have taken advantage of this situation, playing his 19-year-old season with the Hershey Bears after playing one season with the London Knights of the OHL. New York Rangers first-rounder J.T. Miller also played in the AHL at age 19 this season rather than return to the Plymouth Whaler's.
The deal is a perfect buy-low situation for Rimouski. They acquire a player who will fit into their top-6 if he reports, and lose nothing if he doesn’t. Rimouski is looking like a force to be reckoned with in 2013-14, whether Matteau reports or not, with forwards Frédérik Gauthier, Anthony DeLuca, François Beauviller, Peter Trainor and Scott Oke, defenceman Samuel Morin and goaltenders Robin Gusse and Philippe Desrosiers. Matteau only adds grit and scoring to that mix of talented forwards.
The QMJHL draft is set to go Saturday morning, when the trading ban is lifted again for the duration of the draft.
Other notable deals made or completed in the one-hour trade window Friday:
— The Moncton Wildcats sent Ross Johnston and a second-rounder to Victoriaville for Moncton's first import pick in 2014 and Moncton’s first in 2015. The two firsts were sent to Victoriaville in the Philip Danault deal in January.
— Goaltender Francis Desrosiers was sent to the Sherbrooke Phoenix, with a fifth rounder heading Baie-Comeau’s way. The Phoenix acquired forward Axel Rioux from the Remparts in exchange for a 2015 fourth-round pick in 2015.
- The Shawinigan Cataractes acquired centre Matthew Boudreau from the Halifax Mooseheads, with Halifax getting its 2014 first-rounder back. Halifax then swapped that pick with Val-d'Or to acquire a first-rounder in 2015.
— The Drummondville Voltigeurs shipped netminder Domenic Graham to the Chicoutimi Saguenéens for a fifth round selection in 2014.
— The Acadie-Bathurst Titan got their 2014 first-rounder back by sending Christophe Lalancette. That was an add-on to Marc-Olivier Brouillard-to-Bathurst mid-season trade.