Jeff Petry Traded

GM Kent Hughes and new Canadiens defenseman Mike Matheson have known one other for several years. Both hail from Montreal’s West Island, and Matheson has been a longtime friend of Hughes’s since he was a minor-league hockey player.

Hughes referred to Matheson as a “first-class human person.” Your favorite catchphrase was, “The kind of guy you would allow to marry your daughter.”

On Saturday, Hughes traded  Petry and Ryan Poehling, two longstanding Canadiens defensemen, for 28-year-old Quebec native Matheson and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2023 from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Having joined the Canadiens in a March 2, 2015 trade with Edmonton, Petry will leave Montreal after more than seven seasons in the city. In 508 games with the Canadiens, he was a productive player on both sides of the puck, scoring 70 goals and dishing out 178 assists.

The 2021-22 season had been challenging for Petry because his family had stayed behind in the United States while he remained with the Montreal Canadiens.

At a press conference held on Saturday, Hughes said that finding a trading partner for Petry had proven challenging. The Montreal Canadiens were hoping to get a seasoned defenseman in return for Petry’s salary without having to pay any of it.

Each of Petry’s next three seasons will see him earn a US$6.25 million cap hit. Matheson’s contract calls for a $4.875 million annual cap charge for the remaining four years of his contract.

At his age and contract, “a player like Jeff Petry is normally a Stanley Cup contender,” Hughes said. This is a problem for such teams since they can’t afford to spend money they don’t have.”

It was a win-win situation for the Penguins with Poehling on board. Having been selected 25th overall by the Montreal Canadiens in 2017, the promising center went on to score 13 goals and add nine assists in 85 career NHL games.

Matthews is a talented defenseman who can serve as a role model for Montreal’s young defensemen. It is Hughes’ opinion that “Mike Matheson” is a good replacement for Jeff Petry because “he was playing top-4 minutes” in Pittsburgh.

Matheson had 11 goals and 20 assists in 74 games with the Penguins last season, and he also has one goal and five assists in seven playoff games. When the Florida Panthers selected him 23rd overall in 2012, he had 138 points (49 goals, 90 assists) over the course of 417 NHL appearances.

“If you want to acquire good players, you’ll have to part with good players.” Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ron Hextall described Mike as an “excellent player. At this moment, we believe Jeff is a better fit for our organization.” He’s versatile and capable of playing in a variety of roles and racking up significant playing time.

In addition to Matheson, the Penguins traded for another defenseman on Saturday. Additionally, Pittsburgh traded John Marino to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Ty Smith and a 2023 third-round draught pick.

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