Montreal Canadiens cut salaries and send veteran defenseman Jeff Petrie, 34, to Pittsburgh Penguins

The Montreal Canadiens traded a veteran defenseman Jeff Petriwith the front Ryan Boehlingto the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday in exchange for a defenseman Mike Matheson and a fourth-round draft option in 2023.

Petrie signed for the next three seasons with a maximum salary of $6.25 million. Montreal kept nothing of his salary in the transaction.

The 12-year veteran played 803 NHL games between the Canadiens and the Edmonton Oilers. Petrie was traded to Montreal in 2015 and enjoyed a more successful time with the club. More recently, the 34-year-old has struggled with former coach Dominique Ducharme, and Petrie asked to leave Montreal last November.

Ducharme was sent off mid-season, and while Petrie’s performance improved under the new coach Martin Saint LouisThe veteran still hopes to move for family reasons.

“When you trade for good players, you have to give up good players. Mike is a good player. We think Jeff, at this point, is doing a bit better for us,” Ron Hextal told a press conference. video. “He can play all situations, he can score big minutes.”

It was also clear that the Canadiens were entering a rebuilding phase that would focus on their young core. Petry’s contract made it difficult for general manager Kent Hughes to find a willing business partner, especially since Hughes was not interested in throwing Petry anywhere or keeping his hat on the books.

No deal was reached by the March deadline and Petrie ended a relegation season in Montreal with six goals and 27 points in 68 games.

Hughes said last week Petrie’s move was a “priority,” but stressed it had to be the right deal for Montreal. Completing the trade now gives the Canadiens the maximum flexibility they need, with approximately $2.4 million of space for the upcoming season.

Poehling is a former first-round pick (25th) for Montreal in 2017. The 23-year-old had great depth in 85 NHL games with 13 goals and 22 points. He was hired until the end of the following season.

The Penguins were looking for a right-handed defenseman, and replacing Petrie with left-handed leader Matheson helps them do just that. However, Pittsburgh has plenty of NHL defensemen and will now pay Petrie almost $2 million more per season than Matheson. This could be one of many moves the penguins make to resolve their situation. Early Saturday, Pittsburgh treated a defender Joao Marinho25, for the New Jersey Devils for a defensive man Ty Smith22 and a third-round pick in next year’s draft.

Matheson should be a solid addition to Montreal. He just finished a career season in Pittsburgh’s second one-two (11 goals, 31 points in 74 games), likes to play in transition but doesn’t sacrifice on his home turf. The 28-year-old doesn’t expect to be a better pair but should make consistent contributions.

Elmer Hayward

"Pop culture fan. Coffee expert. Bacon nerd. Infuriatingly humble communicator. Friendly gamer."

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