An already notable Penguin defenseman trade involving John Marino and Ty Smith was clearly part of the puzzle. After Michael Matheson’s trade title to the Canadians and Jeff Petrie going to Pittsburgh, the Penguins major defensive reshuffles come into focus.
It only hammers home something that was already true. Penguin and Father Time are up for an epic battle over the next few (many?) years.
Penguins trade for: Jeff Petrie (34, $6.25 million cap hit by 2024-25) and Ryan Pohling (25, $750K for one season)
Canadians receive: Mike Matheson (28, 2025–26 from $4.875 million) and 2023 Fourth Round pick.
The petri trade continues Theme: Penguins are getting older, and getting older
John Marino is a 25-year-old right-handed defender with strong defensive results and mixed offenses that have been a recent downward trend. He’s pretty cheap ($4.4M), which could be lucrative especially if you agree, as his contract runs through 2026-27.
Matheson is also much younger than Petrie. In the end, the Penguins replaced Matheson (left-handed) and Marino (right-handed) for Ty Smith (left-handed improvisation project) and Petri (right-handed).
[Related: 2022 NHL Free Agency Tracker]
But age is a more interesting factor than mildness (which, it must be said, teams are sometimes obsessive about defensemen).
Petrie and Sidney Crosby are both 34, while Evgeny Malkin and Chris Letang are 35. For every 27-year-old Jake Gentzel, there’s another 30-year-old in a prime position like Brian Rust or Brian Dumoulin.
By name recognition alone, Jeff Petrie is the biggest piece of these interconnected trades. The Penguins are banking on him to maintain a high-level game, even though he’s “just” gotten very, very good by slipping from borderline-Norris-content.
If things are going the wrong way, penguins can increasingly look old-fashioned. If Petri gives the penguins a big push in the short term, they are probably fine with the pain in the long run.
Via Cap Friendly, the Matheson-Petri-Smith-Marino swap leaves Penguin with nearly $2M in salary cap space.
They may still have plenty of defensemen:
Canadiens pull Matheson out of petri trade instead of futures
Let’s be honest: sometimes you get a gem in the fourth round. It’s not very likely.
(Three of the four defensemen in these trades were drafted in the first or second round, while John Marino was selected 154th overall in 2015.)
Honestly, in picturing most Jeff Petrie business scenarios, I pictured the Canadiens likely snatching something like a first-rounder or the quality of a fairly big-name, right-handed defenseman. Instead, the focus was on a young defenseman.
Matheson, 28, is younger and cheaper, although his contract lasts for an additional season. At first, I assumed that the Canadians were attracted by Matheson’s unusually good weather.
Upon further research, the two actually compare closely to a three-year sample. Consider this three-year RAPM chart comparing Petrie and Matheson from Evolving Hockey:
Going by the big picture, I believe the Canadiens should be even smaller. In fact, I’m taken aback by the chills on offer by canadiens to resolve a problem contract Like Josh Anderson.
However, if Matheson is close Petri is up to the player now – and various measures including “eye tests” may inspire differing opinions – so it may still be a sensible trade-off for the Canadiens. Again, that’s fairly short, and if you like the contract, you’re covered for four seasons.
It is also possible that the hubs are not done yet. The Canadiens are tight-lipped for the salary limit, and that’s with Kirby Dachs as the RFA.
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Penguin rivals Father Time with Petri-Matheson trade originally appearing on NBCSports.com