Montreal Canadiens acquire Mike Matheson from the Pittsburgh Penguins

On Saturday afternoon, the Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes announced the team had acquired the Montreal native Mike Matheson and a fourth-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft for Jeff Petry and Ryan Poehling.

Matheson is a 6 foot 2, 188-pound defenseman who is coming off a stellar year in the steel city, scoring 11 goals and adding 20 assists; and scored one goal in the playoffs and five more assists in seven playoff games.

The Florida Panthers drafted him in 2012, and in 417 career games in the NHL, he has 138 points ( 49 goals, 89 assists). Petry was acquired by the Canadiens on March 2nd, 2015, and scored 70 goals and added 178 assists in his time in La Belle Province.

Poehling was drafted 25th overall in 2017 and scored 13 goals, adding nine assists playing 85 NHL games.

Hughes wasn’t done there as he also resigned Rem Pitlick to a two-year extension with the team. In 46 this past season with Montreal, he picked up 26 points ( 9 goals, 17 assists) while finishing with 12 penalty minutes.

Pitlick was not given a qualifying offer last week and hit free agency before resigning with the Montreal Canadiens. In his career so far, he has played 77 regular season games and has 39 points with 15 goals as a member of the Nashville Predators.

Pitlick is a third-round pick and 76th overall back at the NHL Draft in 2016.

After a busy day working the phones and making a couple of deals, Hughes met Montreal via zoom to discuss his moves.

He was asked about getting a veteran defenseman when trading Jeff Petry.

In any trade that we were going to contemplate with Pittsburgh or any other team that involved Jeff Petry, one of the elements that had to either come in the trade or we had to be able to after that acquire was a defenseman. Mike Matheson is a defenseman who was playing top-4 minutes in Pittsburgh.

That brings many of the qualities we lose in a Jeff Petry in terms of his ability to transport the puck. Last season, Mike was in the 90th percentile for goals in the NHL at 5-on-5 per 60 minutes. He was 85th percentile in points. He scored five game-winning goals, and almost all of his offensive production came at even-strength. I also know him as an individual. I feel comfortable that Mike is the kind of person in our locker room, at this point in his career, that can assist our young players, be it the draft picks like Juraj Slafkovsky or our young defensemen trying to make their way as regular NHL players. Mike is a five-star human being who can greatly assist our club.

He also gave his point of view on why he decided to add Poehling to the deal.

“Having Ryan be part of the deal, for them, they felt they needed a little depth at center given that their middle of the ice is undoubtedly older. It provides them with that security. With the acquisition on our part of Kirby Dach, we’re pretty comfortable at this point in time with what we have in the middle of the ice with Nick SuzukiChristian Dvorak, and Jake Evans. We had a lot of forwards on one-way deals, and with Ryan leaving, we felt it freed us up to bring Rem Pitlick back, who we liked a lot, at a number that we felt was manageable.”

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