By JD Lagrange – Well there you have it. The GM who said he would not give assets or accept less than fair value for Jeff Petry just a few days ago has changed his mind. Or perhaps he feels like Mike Matheson is better than Jeff Petry to the point of adding a former first round pick in Ryan Poehling? Allow me to doubt that.
Oh I’m not saying that it’s a bad trade, don’t get me wrong. In fact, if you compare to the following four trades, Hughes did very well. But to say that he didn’t flinch by giving up assets to compensate for not taking salary back would be putting our head in the sand.
|To Carolina||To Vegas|
|To Nashville||To Tampa Bay|
|Ryan McDonagh||Grant Mismash|
|To Carolina||To San Jose|
2023 conditional 3rd round pick
|To Chicago||To Toronto|
2022 1st round pick
|2022 2nd round pick|
So by measure of comparison, the Canadiens are at least getting a good hockey player (and a fourth round pick) for Petry, even if they had to give Ryan Poehling to make it happen. All of that to save $1.375 million and no, I’m not counting Poehling as his spot must be replaced in the line-up, assuming he would make the team.
Mike Matheson is a 28 year-old, left-handed defenseman. The 6-foot 2-inches, 188 lbs left-handed defenseman has all the skills needed to be a solid two-way defenseman but has yet to develop the consistency needed to thrive at the NHL level. He is very mobile with good offensive potential. However, he drives coaches crazy at times by getting caught out of position.
Matheson carries a cap hit of $4.875 million until 2025-26. This means that the Canadiens are saving $1.375 million, but he has one more year to his contract than Petry.
As one of Kent Hughes’ former clients, he knows him well and he describes him as a five-star person, the type of man a father would want their daughter to marry! In his post-trade meeting with the press, Hughes said that he talked in length to Matheson’s teammate (and also former client) Kris Letang before pulling the trigger on the trade.
A few of us had an interesting discussion about the value of Matheson as a player compared to Petry. In my mind, there is no doubt that Petry is far ahead of Matheson as an overall defenseman but why just take my word for it? I have been wrong before, ask my ex-wife.
We all agree that last season was one to forget for Petry, right? I mean up until Dominique Ducharme was fired in February, the usually savvy veteran only had one single goal and a pathetic six points total in 38 games! COVID, family in the US, disagreement with the coach, perhaps even pouting… nothing was working. Still, after Martin St-Louis took over, the American defenseman returned to form, averaging 0.70 points per game! The old Petry was back! Anyway, here are last year’s comparisons between the two players, even with Petry’s poor season…
|Mike Matheson||Jeff Petry|
Now let’s look at the past three seasons combined, to give a bigger picture…
|Mike Matheson||Jeff Petry|
It’s nowhere close. So those who think that the Habs had to give up Ryan Poehling in order to compensate for Matheson being better (yes, some think that) will have to think again. Then add the value of a rare top-4 right-handed defenseman and you’ll realize that Hughes flinched and made it happen. I don’t blame him, he had to.
Immediately after the trade, the Canadiens announced having reached an agreement with UFA Rem Pitlick, who they had not qualified, on a new 2 years, $2.2 million contract ($1.1M cap hit).