Name: Stephane Matteau
Position: Left Wing
Born: 9/2/69 in Rouyn, Quebec
Drafted: 2nd Round (25th overall) in 1987 by the Flames
Salary: $1.1 million
The Finesse Game
Matteau has never clearly defined himself as a physical player or an offensive player, which means he's inconsistent even in his inconsistency. It's the kind of dilemma that drives coaches batty. Matteau's most valuable asset is his ability to get to the boards, hurry a defenseman into a turnover, then get to the front of the net for a deflection or to set a screen. The problem is, you might see that play out of him once in a game, then maybe not again for a week or more. He is mentally fragile. He gets down on himself, which leads to catastrophic slumps. Some players need a pat on the back, some need a kick in the pants. Matteau needs both at different times. Matteau is not going to overpower goalies with many shots. His goals come from short range--rebounds, deflections, backhands, wraparounds--which explains his high shooting percentage. More often, though, he's the player causing a distraction and getting cross-checked while a teammate converts the garbage. He shows good hustle and works hard to get into scoring position in front of the net, but he doesn't have the touch to finish off the play. When he wants to, he will skate through a check. Too often, it takes too little to stop his legs. He's got a big reach and is reasonably quick with the puck.
The Physical Game
Matteau is big enough to make himself useful, strong enough to make himself a force, fast enough to be intimidating, but he's also inconsistent enough to make you understand why so many teams have given up on him. He finishes his checks, hard at times, but tends to use his size in more subtle ways. He makes the defenseman tie him up in front of the net, which leaves openings down low for teammates. He does a decent job along the boards, shielding the puck and kicking it to his stick.
We predicted Matteau would be gone from St. Louis after Mike Keenan's departure. We're surprised he's not in Vancouver yet. San Jose was happy with the way he worked with their young forwards, and maybe the Sharks figure he's worth hanging onto if they can be a factor in this year's playoff scene.
A limited role, and no more than 10 to 15 goals.
SOURCE: HOCKEY SCOUTING REPORT