Mike Matheson Registers New Career High Against The Islanders

Mike Matheson reaches career high in points (60) besting previous career high (34) from the 2022-23 season.
Tampa Bay Lightning v Montreal Canadiens
Tampa Bay Lightning v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

On the Montreal Canadiens blueline, Mike Matheson has been one of the most polarizing players, love him or hate him, he does a lot of things for the team.

The penalty-killing, power-play quarterback, minute-munching defenseman does a little bit of everything for the Habs. Chances are if you have followed the team in any form this season, you have gotten a glimpse of his effortless stride. Matheson has done the best operating on the backend that anybody in the current fold can do.

I must admit that I had been an advocate to trade Matheson when his value was at an all-time high. But the fact of the matter is that Matheson brings something to the team that nobody on the current team does. He doesn't run the ship as efficiently as The General, Andrei Markov used to, but he deserves his props.

On Thursday night against the New York Islanders, the Habs' number-one defenseman reached the 60-point plateau. An impressive feat to say the least for the Pointe Claire, QC., native. His previous career high of 34 points, is 26 fewer, and with the direction the club is aiming to go, there's reason to believe that should he stick around, he might best this season's totals next year.

Matheson's 60th point and 50th point of the campaign came on a tic-tac-toe play between him, Johnathan Kovacevic and the goal scorer, Cole Caufield. The tally was Caufield's 25th goal of the season, putting him one shy of his career-high (26) from the 2022-23 season. The goal pulled the Habs ahead of the Islanders, but as we know they tied it up and ultimately won in overtime.

Back to Matheson though, his 60th point of the season is the most by a Canadiens defenseman since PK Subban registered 60 points in 2014-15. His next point will put him ahead of Subban, and three points short of Markov, who scored 64 points during the 2008-09 season.

Having your name in the same conversation as Markov and Subban isn't something to scoff at. Without Matheson on the Canadiens' backend, the Habs could have risked rushing another defender in their development, to play the role of number one power-play quarterback. Such a move could stunt their progress and severely handicap the Habs powerplay, which had struggled mightily for quite some time.

It's crazy to think that we got Matheson in a trade that needed to be made, Jeff Petry was no longer happy in Montreal. So moving him out to bring in Matheson was a move that made a ton of sense. Petry also never reached the 50-point mark in his career, so the value that Kent Hughes brought back to the club for Petry is very deft work on his part.

Whether he stays around next season or gets traded during the summer for a goal-scoring top-six talent, Hughes had gotten more than fair value for Petry. Matheson has proven that he can be a difference-maker, so his value will be even higher this summer than it was at the Trade Deadline. Though there are no indications that he will be traded, if there is an offer that Hughes can't refuse, it could be difficult for him to ignore it.

With less than a handful of games left, however, Matheson could reach the 64-point plateau and put his name alongside Markov and Sheldon Souray for the most points for a Habs defender since 2006-07.