Stefan Matteau is Shining Bright in Short Time with Blue Jackets

By Chris Pennington on February 25, 2020 at 5:26 pm
Stefan Matteau
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

'Next man up' usually causes panic.

Not when it means bringing up Stefan Matteau, though, apparently.

The 26-year-old Columbus Blue Jacket winger is on his fourth team since the 2015-2016 season, so when the organization called him up from the Cleveland Monsters to play against the Philadelphia Flyers on Feb. 20, it was a bit of a surprise.

Especially for someone who had just eight points in his last 18 the AHL.

However, when he tipped home a Boone Jenner shot for a goal that evening that eventually helped give a point to his club, most were glad to see him return to action against the Nashville Predators on Feb. 22. 

Then, he put up an assist, had two shots and almost 17 minutes of ice time. OK, maybe the kid was good enough to stay past the first round of injured players returning to the lineup.

Finally, in a frustrating Ottawa Senators matchup on Monday night where the Blue Jackets found themselves down a goal with ten minutes remaining in the game, Matteau really proved his potential, if he hadn't done so yet.

Matteau once again found a goal on his stick via a tip (this time from Scott Harrington) to tie the contest and give his team a chance at a full two-point outcome on the night.

Every game matters, clearly. But the Senators game really mattered for Columbus. Had they missed out on two points against Ottawa, they'd be even further in a rut for a playoff bid. That doesn't look so hot when 16 of 17 teams in the final stretch for the Blue Jackets all are legitimately fighting for a playoff spot.

Losing two points to Ottawa would be catastrophically bad.

Did...Matteau save the season?

No. But, if the Blue Jackets find the postseason come April, we'd be wise to look back at this game and remember how huge these points will likely end up being - and a big part of that being due to the effort of Stefan Matteau. 

Matteau has been actually good for Columbus in his 2-1-3 three-game stint. His offensive point shares (0.4) is 13th-most on the club, and ahead of the likes of Nathan Gerbe, Eric Robinson, Boone Jenner, Alexander Wennberg and Kevin Stenlund. He also had 0.5 total point shares, more than Jakob Lilja (0.4) who has played in 30 more games.

Four blocks and 11 hits help round out his stat line, along with a 18.2 shooting percentage. To top it off, his 15:29 ice time is ninth-most amongst Blue Jackets forwards, showing the trust head coach John Tortorella has in the speedy winger.

"He (Matteau) gets around the ice well, he can think the game. I can use him on both wings. He's played three on three (overtime). I used him in the shootout the other night," said Tortorella following Monday's win against the Senators. "They have talked about him during the year, how well he was playing down there (for the Monsters)....he has played some very important minutes for us."

We know the sample size is small. But let's enjoy what we are seeing in front of us - an encouraging, young offensive player in a time where the Blue Jackets *checks injury report* really, really need one.

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