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Mike Matheson is playing himself into the deadline conversation

Mike Matheson might be a player the Habs want to hang on to, but his play may be making him the team’s best deadline asset.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Philadelphia Flyers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens ran roughshod over the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday night. It was a decisive victory in a battle between two clear sellers at the upcoming NHL trade deadline. The Habs looked like the team closer to competing, but undoubtedly still one that will need to sell assets before their right to do so is suspended for the remainder of the year.

With that in mind, whether or not Mike Matheson is on the trade block, his play of late has made him arguably their most significant asset.

He may not have lit up the score sheet against the Flyers, but his overall play, and underlying numbers were excellent. The Canadiens held an expected-goals advantage of 56.79% when he was on the ice, and he was a force at both ends of the ice on almost every shift.

The argument to not trade him is rather strong. The Habs are well-stocked with young defensemen, but they’ll need a veteran presence to guide them through the rebuild. Signed through 2025-26 at less than $5 million AAV, he’s not an anchor, and could be a solid piece for the team if his recent play is any indication of what to expect as they improve around him.

But everything that makes him a potential keeper for Montreal has a similar impact on his trade value. If other teams are interested in defensive help, he could easily be a primary target for anyone talking to Kent Hughes. He’s likely to earn more for them than any of their other veteran defenders like David Savard or Joel Edmundson.

Essentially, the Habs brass needs to decide — very quickly — whether what Matheson brings is worth more to them for the next three years than he’s worth now in a trade. If an offer were to surface that involved a 2023 first-round pick, one has to wonder if it would be enough to make them pull the trigger.


Would you trade Mike Matheson?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    (147 votes)
  • 49%
    (648 votes)
  • 39%
    2023 first + or stop asking
    (526 votes)
1321 votes total Vote Now

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