Montreal Canadiens: Trading Mike Matheson - Striking While The Iron Is Hot - Could Be Too Tantalizing To Ignore

Dallas Stars v Montreal Canadiens
Dallas Stars v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Simply put the Montreal Canadiens are an overachieving team, because of Samuel Montembeault’s play. Which puts many veterans in a weird spot, especially Mike Matheson.

It’s pretty apparent that Matheson’s value is sky-high, and that might not be the case next year. Many players struggle with consistency when they hit their 30s. Matheson is 29 and has yet to play for a Stanley Cup.

Matheson isn't far behind if 29-year-old Sean Monahan was seen as a guy that made the most sense to move. With a clogged-up left side of their defence, moving Matheson ahead of the Trade Deadline would open up a spot. Lane Hutson will need a spot, Jordan Harris and Arber Xhekaj have been splitting starts - it would be a blessing in disguise. 

As I write this, Kaiden Guhle and Harris have gone down with injuries during Sunday’s afternoon battle against the St. Louis Blues. But hear me out, the Canadiens aren’t in a position to compete in the playoffs. Not for any sustained time; Montembeault masks a lot of the issues and the first line can’t do it all. 

One way to solve this issue, whether it’s with future assets or a prospect, is dealing with the Habs minute munching defenseman. It would be silly to think that there haven’t been calls regarding Matheson. And I would have to think that the intrigue of adding another first-round selection to his draft pick collection is too sweet to pass up for Kent.

Hughes's priority is making this team better in the long run -  the Canadiens' offensive depth should be the primary area of focus. Adding another first-round selection to his pocket would put Kent in a spot to package picks to move up into the top five of the draft. Or at the very least the top 15.

Pair a top 15 pick with the Canadiens own likely top five selection, and the Canadiens will have a shot at two top 15 forward talents at the draft in June. Now, it will be noticeable without Matheson in the lineup, but it will ensure the team has an opportunity to solidify their offence. Winning now is important, but building a perennial contender for the future can’t be ignored for short-term success. 

Let’s not forget that the Canadiens also have two first-round picks in the 2025 draft. Their own, and Calgary’s from the deal that brought Sean Monahan to Montreal. It takes time to rebuild properly; while stocking the prospect cupboard, the eventual benefits can’t be overstated.