The Penguins took out a right fielder earlier today when send Juan Marino to New Jersey. It seems that he will be replaced by jeff petry since Pittsburgh has acquired the veteran along with center ryan poehling from Montreal in exchange for blueliner mike mateson and a 2023 fourth-round pick. Both teams have confirmed the trade.
The 34-year-old is coming off a difficult season with Montreal that saw him struggle as their best defender in the absence of shea weber. He struggled mightily offensively to start the year, as through the first three months of the year, he only had two assists in 27 games. However, Petry’s performance improved following the coaching change that saw Martin St. Louis take over behind the bench and he was much better down the stretch, amassing 21 points in the last three months of the season. Overall, Petry finished the year with six goals and 21 assists in 68 games, his lowest point total since the 2015-16 campaign, his first full season with the Canadiens.
Around the middle of the year, he also applied for an exchange for family reasons. While he was expected to move at the trade deadline and again in the draft, it has taken a while for that to materialize.
Petry has three years left on his contract with an AAV of $6.25MM and Montreal general manager Kent Hughes stated earlier this week that he was not interested in withholding any salary to facilitate a trade. While Marino’s move freed up roughly $3.5MM in cap flexibility, that wasn’t enough to absorb Petry’s entire deal, which was what prompted Matheson’s listing on the trade. Petry had been speculated as a possible replacement for kris letang if the veteran left in free agency. Instead, Letang signed a six-year deal and Petry will now help form a quality double whammy on the right side of his back with Petry’s AAV checking just above Letang’s to make him the team’s highest-paid blueliner. .
Matheson was a top-four defender early in his career with Florida, but his stock began to slide a few years ago, prompting him to be traded. Patric Hornqvist. The move worked out well for the 28-year-old, as he had a career year offensively in 2021-22, posting 11 goals and 20 assists in 74 games while logging just under 19 minutes a night. He was also quite productive for the Penguins in the playoffs, scoring one goal and five assists in seven games to lead all Pittsburgh blueliners in scoring averaging more than 25 minutes per game.
Matheson has four years remaining on his contract at an AAV of $4.875MM in a deal that is somewhat behind schedule with pay set to rise to $6.5MM per season in each of the last three seasons. He immediately becomes the Canadians’ longest-contracted blueliner and, at the same time, is the highest paid. He is likely to take the place of Alexander Romanov on Montreal’s depth chart when the youngster was drafted to the Islanders for the 13th overall pick, who later traded to Chicago to pick up center kirby dach.
As for Poehling, the 23-year-old was a Montreal first-round pick in 2017 (25th overall) and spent most of last season with the Canadiens, scoring nine goals and eight assists in 57 games with an average just over 12 minutes. per game. He’s likely to have a similar role in Pittsburgh’s last six in 2022-23. Poehling is signed for the league minimum for next season and will be a restricted free agent next summer.
With the move, Pittsburgh now has just under $2 million in cap space with the RFA winger. Kasperi Kapanen yet to sign. That’s not enough for the 25-year-old, so it looks like general manager Ron Hextall has another move to try. Montreal, meanwhile, frees up a little over $2 million with this trade, giving them a little over $2.3 million in cap space with Dach being their most notable RFA in need of a new deal.
Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Contract and cap information courtesy of CapFriendly.