The first thing Albany Devils coach Rick Kowalsky did NOT do last fall when getting Stefan Matteau on his team was sit down with the Devils' 2012 No. 1 draft pick and ask what really happened last spring.

Months later, they still haven't talked about Matteau being kicked off his Quebec Major Junior Hockey League club following a playoff game due to an argument with a head coach who was assisted by Matteau's famous hockey dad, former Rangers playoff hero Stephane Matteau.

"Never been discussed," Kowalsky said.

Neither has any of Matteau's past trouble - his 15 games missed from two United States national team development program suspensions for crossing-the-line hits, plus his one-game suspension from the league office in juniors last season for checking from behind that his team doubled to two games just to send a message.

"I like when these kids come in, whether it's college or junior - wherever they come from - we start with a clean slate here," Kowalsky said. "With everybody, I try and get my own opinion."


"With everything I've seen, Stef's professional. To me, he's well beyond his years in that regard. I probably read or heard just as much as you did (about Matteau's past) and didn't bother forming an opinion on it. I've got the kid in front of me and he's been great for us. He's come in here and he's been a good teammate and has good practice habits. I think having a father that played in the NHL has taught him a lot about how to be a pro. I haven't seen any problems regarding attitude."

The same goes for dirty play. According to Kowalski, Matteau plays a tough game and will fight, but his first AHL season and second as a pro has included no controversy or suspensions.

What Kowalski sees game after game are signs that Matteau, a 6-2, 220 pound left wing who will turn 20 on Feb. 23, looks like he's on his way to becoming an NHL power forward who will be an impact player.

Asked what he's seen this season from Matteau, who has nine goals, 19 points, 2 fights and 52 penalty minutes in 43 games, his coach went on and on showering compliments.

"Size, speed, strength and then certainly there's a skill level. It's just putting it all together and keeping it together. When he's on his game down here, he dominates. I use the term man amongst boys, and the funny thing is he's only 19 years old. But when he's moving and skating the way he can, he's tough to contain down here. He hasn't maybe scored as much as we thought he would, but he's certainly had chances and he can shoot the puck. It'll be interesting to see how that translates. Moving forward to the NHL, I'm not sure if he's a top 6 guy, but I certainly believe he can be an impact on the third line."

Matteau, who tasted his first cup of NHL coffee for the Devils last season as an 18-year-old, is in no real rush to get back. Oh, he thinks about it every time a teammate gets called up, but he's been happy developing all facets of his game at the AHL level.