The Vegas Golden Knights have been on fire for most of the season, and currently sit in first place in the Pacific Division. The expansion franchise has turned a rag-tag group of players from the fringes of NHL rosters into a cohesive unit, even in the face of staggering injuries. Though Luca Sbisa was at practice wearing a no-contract jersey, and Marc-Andre Fleury skated before teammates according to David Schoen of the Las Vegas Review Journal, David Perron and William Carrier were nowhere to be seen on the ice at T-Mobile Arena. That leaves them with just 11 healthy forwards at practice, and in need of some help up front.
Enter Stefan Matteau, who according to NHL.com contributor Anthony Marcotte will be recalled by the Golden Knights for the first time this season. The son of former NHLer Stephane Matteau, Stefan was selected 29th-overall by the New Jersey Devils in 2012, and eventually dealt to Montreal for Devante Smith-Pelly. He wasn’t qualified this summer by the Canadiens, and eventually signed a one-year contract with Vegas. Projected as a powerful winger with speed and physicality, it was hoped that Matteau would eventually develop more of an offensive game to be able to stick in the NHL. That hasn’t happened yet, as he has just six points in 56 career NHL contests and hasn’t been a big scoring threat even at the minor league level.
Still, Vegas has built their season on players that were underestimated so far in their careers and will try to catch more lightning in a bottle with Matteau. The 6’2″ 220-lbs forward could bring an added level of physicality and energy to their bottom six, and perhaps show that he’s ready for an increased role. Power forwards often find their footing later in their careers, and at 23 years old Matteau can’t quite be labelled a bust just yet. Even if his offensive game never develops, perhaps he can provide different value to the Golden Knights.