Penguins acquires Jeff Petry


Penguins acquires Jeff Petry

The Penguins pulled out a right-footed defender when they sent earlier this morning John Marino to New Jersey. Apparently he is replaced by Jeff Petry how Pittsburgh acquired the veteran along with the center Ryan Pohling from Montreal in exchange for blueliner Mike Matheson and a fourth-round pick in 2023. Both teams have confirmed the swap.

The 34-year-old has endured a tough season with Montreal which has seen him struggle as a top defender in his absence Shea Weber. He struggled mightily offensively to start the year, having just two assists in 27 games in the first three months of the year. However, Petry’s performance improved after the coaching change that saw Martin St. Louis come behind the bench and he was much better, amassing 21 points in the last three months of the season. Overall, Petry finished the year with six goals and 21 assists in 68 games, his lowest scoring since the 2015-16 season, his first full season with the Canadiens.

Around the middle of the year, he also applied for an exchange for family reasons. While it was widely expected that he would move to close and again to draft, it has taken a while for a move to materialize.

Petry has three years left on his contract with a $6.25 million AAV, and Montreal GM Kent Hughes stated earlier this week that he was not interested in keeping a salary to facilitate a trade . While Marino’s move freed up about $3.5 million in cap flexibility, it wasn’t enough to absorb Petry’s full deal, leading to Matheson’s inclusion in the swap. Petry had been speculated as a possible replacement for Kris Letang if the veteran should go free. Instead, Letang signed a six-year deal and will now help Petry form a quality double strike down the right side of her back end, with Petry’s AAV checking in just above Letang’s to make him the highest-paid blueliner on the team.

Matheson was a top-four defenseman early in his Florida career, but his stocks began to decline a few years ago, causing him to be flipped Patrick Hornqvist. The move worked well for the 28-year-old as he had a career year attacking in 2021/22, notching 11 goals and 20 assists in 74 games while logging just under 19 minutes a night. He was also fairly productive for the Penguins in the playoffs, scoring one goal and five assists in seven games to lead all Pittsburgh blueliners in scoring while averaging over 25 minutes per contest.

Matheson has four years left on his contract with an AAV of $4.875 million for a deal that’s somewhat heavily backtracked as his payout is set to increase to $6.5 million per season in each of the last three seasons. He immediately becomes the blueliner with the longest contract with the Canadians and at the same time the best paid. He will probably take the place Alexander Romanov on Montreal’s depth chart when the youngster was traded back to the Islanders for the 13th overall pick in the draft, which was then flipped to Chicago to pick up the center Kirby roof.

As for Poehling, the 23-year-old was a Montreal first-round pick in 2017 (25th overall) and spent most of last season with the Canadiens, recording nine goals and eight assists in 57 games while averaging just over 12 minutes completed per game. He will likely play a similar role in Pittsburgh’s bottom six in 2022-23. Poehling is signed for the league minimum for next season and will be a restricted free agent next summer.

With the move, Pittsburgh now has just under $2 million in cap space with the RFA winger Kasper Kapanen yet to sign. That’s not enough for the 25-year-old, so it seems GM Ron Hextall has one more step to try. Meanwhile, Montreal frees up just over $2 million with this swap, giving them just over $2.3 million in cap space, with Dach as their most notable RFA in need of a new deal.

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Contract and Cap information courtesy of CapFriendly.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was the report first that Petry was on his way to Pittsburgh. Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli was the best report first the trade details.

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