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QMJHL’s Armada releases Devils’ prospect Stefan Matteau

Stefan Matteau puts on his new jersey after being picked by the New Jersey Devils in the first round, 29th overall, of the NHL Draft in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 22, 2012.

JASON COHN/REUTERS

The Blainville-Boisbriand Armada released New Jersey Devils prospect Stefan Matteau on Monday for deserting the team following a playoff game.

General manager Joel Bouchard said the club had to uphold its rules and values even when it is in the midst of a playoff series. The Armada trail the Baie-Comeau Drakkar 2-0 in a best-of-seven Quebec Major Junior Hockey League semifinal series.

The move was surprising because Matteau's father, former NHL forward Stephane Matteau, is an assistant coach with the Armada and will remain in his job.

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Reportedly unhappy with his ice time, 19-year-old Stefan Matteau did not get on the team bus after a loss in Baie-Comeau, Que., on Sunday, but rode back home on a fan bus instead.

"We demand two things from all our players — to play with effort in the team system and to be a good, respectful teammate," said Bouchard, who added it was not the first time Matteau has been in trouble.

"We've told him several times that his behaviour was unacceptable in our organization and we often had to call him on the carpet this season."

Bouchard said he considers the case closed and wants his team to focus on the playoffs.

"Our whole team is concentrating on our next two games Tuesday and Wednesday," he said.

Chicago-born Matteau, who grew up in Blainville, Que., in the suburbs north of Montreal, was drafted 29th overall by New Jersey last June and began the season with the Devils. The 6-foot-1 207-pound centre had a goal and two assists in 17 NHL games before he was assigned to the Armada.

He had 18 goals and 28 points in 35 QMJHL games this season, and had nine points in 11 playoff games.

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