Canadiens: Mike Matheson Surprisingly On TSN's Trade Bait List

Nov 30, 2023; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens defenseman Mike Matheson.
Nov 30, 2023; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens defenseman Mike Matheson. / David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports
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The Montreal Canadiens are kind of hanging around the NHL's playoff picture as we work our way through the second quarter of the schedule.

With an 11-12-3 record, the Canadiens have 25 points in their first 26 games and are technically just a handful of points out of a wildcard spot. But they do have a number of teams between them and a playoff spot, which means a lengthy winning run would be required to actually make some noise in the standings by the midpoint of the season.

That is not really expected to happen, and many would predict the Canadiens are going to be sellers when the trade deadline finally rolls around. That isn't until March 8, which is almost exactly three months from now, but reporters and hockey insiders are starting to put together trade targets for contending teams.

Surprisingly on one of those recent lists was Canadiens defenseman Mike Matheson. TSN produced its initial version of the Trade Bait Board which lists players according to ability and likelihood of being traded this season. It shouldn't shock anyone that Cayden Primeau and Jake Allen are high on that list, and Sean Monahan came in at number nine.

But rounding out the top 20 was Matheson. He has two more years left on his contract with a manageable cap hit of $4.875 million. He has also scored five goals and 18 points in 26 games this season which puts him just outside the top ten in scoring among defenders in the league.

At 29 years of age, and with an incredibly young group of defenders around him, it seemed unlikely Matheson was going to move. However, the face he is not an over-the-hill player, has a cap hit that is easy to digest and is producing offensively while playing a ton of minutes is exactly the reason other teams will come calling.

With a plethora of left shot options already and Lane Hutson likely joining the NHL team before the end of this season, some tough decisions will have to be made on the blue line. It was thought those tough decisions would be around names like Arber Xhekaj and Jordan Harris. But with Kaiden Guhle a lock to stay and Hutson projected to take on big minutes realatively soon, could Matheson be dealt?

With TSN adding him to their list, it sure seems possible the he could be on the move. He would fetch a big return, and open the door for younger players to take on bigger roles which could accelerate the rebuild. Obviously nothing is done yet, but it will be worth keeping an eye on insider's reports to see if Matheson's name starts to gain more traction in the rumour mill as we appraoch the deadline.