Grading Mike Matheson's season

Mike Matheson led the Canadiens blueline, both as the number one guy and with a new career high in points (62).
Detroit Red Wings vs Montreal Canadiens
Detroit Red Wings vs Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

The Montreal Canadiens season was a big one for learning and growth and without the leadership group with Nick Suzuki at the head and his two assistant captains Mike Matheson and Brendan Gallagher aiding him, the Habs might not have been successful at all.

Let's zero in on the second name of the leadership trio, Matheson and dive into his season. One of the best seasons of his career and a year that showed the kind of player he is. He proved that he can operate a power-play, aid the younger defenders and be relied on to play big minutes.

With the A on his jersey, Matheson ate up plenty of ice time and a ton of mileage, which was big for his progression into a number-one defender. But it also gave the young guys time to grow, adjust, and prepare for larger roles without feeling rushed. Although he may have been one of the most frustrating players at times, he was one of the most effective most of the time on defence.

Alongside Kaiden Guhle, Matheson took the sophomore defender under his wing. A tall task, considering that playing with Matheson means drawing the opposition's top assignments each night. It wasn't a flawless season, not by any means, but Guhle showed a lot of strengths and allowed Matheson to play his high-risk game predicated on nimble skating and quick cross-overs.

As mentioned earlier, Matheson had his best season of his career and it was by no mistake; he was trusted by the Canadiens coaching staff with big minutes. Manning the number one power play, Matheson definitely seemed out of place at times, but he did his best work to fuel the Habs top unit. Matheson bested his previous career-high of 34 points, by an impressive 28, reaching 62 points, including 11 goals and 51 assists through 82 games.

While Matheson likely tops out as a top four defender, when all is said and done, with Lane Hutson presumably unseating him from his top pair duties; he did a great job this season and will do the same next. Matheson is prone to mistakes, because he tries to do too much - over stickhandling or forcing plays, but this year with Montreal, he was the Habs sole option. Matheson's season is worthy of an A-, with some work on his decision-making and gap control that could be an A, but alas, there is work to be done.