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Penguins BIG Trade: Petry & Poehling to Pens, Matheson to Montreal

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Penguins trade, Jeff Petry, Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh Penguins trade No. 2 was the big one. Earlier Saturday, the Penguins dished John Marino and his $4.4 million cap hit to the New Jersey Devils for young, skilled defenseman Ty Smith. GM Ron Hextall promptly used that extra salary cap space to add improve the blue line with Montreal Canadiens RHD Jeff Petry but had to give up resurgent defenseman Mike Matheson.

The Penguins are also including a draft pick.

The NHL trade rumors have linked the Penguins to Jeff Petry for months, but that was typically in response to the tenuous contract negotiations with Kris Letang. Last week at the NHL draft, Hextall and Montreal GM Kent Hughes had extended conversations though nothing immediately came of it.

Petry, 34, is the second right-handed defenseman acquired this week. The Penguins also signed big righty Jan Rutta to a three-year contract with a $2.75 million AAV.

Last season, Petry requested a trade near midseason but rescinded it when the atmosphere in Montreal changed after Martin St. Louis was named coach. Petry slumped to 27 points (6-21-27) in 68 games.

Petry scored more than 40 points in the four prior seasons.

The Penguins are also acquiring big forward Ryan Poehling. The big forward was a first-round pick in 2017 but is generally a third or fourth-line player with limited offensive contributions. The 23-year-old brings size to the Penguins’ bottom six. He’s 6-foot-2, 207 pounds.

Last season, Poehling scored 17 points (9-8-17) in 56 games.

Our colleagues at Montreal Hockey Now tell us that Poehling has good size and skates well, but hasn’t yet established himself as a guaranteed NHL regular. Poehling is seen as a center, though he can play the wings. He’s also had concussion issues.

The Penguins had a glut of left-handed defensemen when P.O Joseph signed an NHL contract last Monday. The Penguins had nine defensemen but six lefties. They still have nine after acquiring Petry but have more balance.

The Penguins spent much of the money they saved in the Marino deal and added about $2.2 million, which leaves them with about $1 million of cap space remaining, with RFA Kasperi Kapanen still waiting for a new deal.

Matheson, 28, was a rising star on the Penguins’ blue line. Since being acquired for Patric Hornqvist is the summer of 2020, Matheson played an increasing role, including on the Penguins’ top pair late last season and for occasions in the playoffs.

Last season, he scored 31 points with 11 goals and was a plus-11. He has four more seasons remaining on his contract with a $4.875 million cap hit.

At first glance, losing Matheson, who scored more points, makes less money, and is much younger than Petry would seem a curious decision.

Update: Hextall confirmed Ty Smith, acquired earlier for John Marino, is waiver exempt, which could aid the Penguins’ roster construction.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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Brian Johnston
Brian Johnston
27 days ago

What is going on here?
Hextall had better have at least 2 more moves in his back pocket…

Knobman
Knobman
27 days ago
Reply to  Brian Johnston

Wondering if Petry stays? There has to be something else coming. At least Hextall is showing some imagination in making some moves instead of watching again.

Jay95
Jay95
27 days ago
Reply to  Knobman

Petry stays. The right side of the D is stronger after these moves. If anyone gets moved now it’ll be another left handed D or one of Ruhwedel/Freidman. They usually only carry 7 D-men on the active Roster. Sending Smith down cleats some space…trading one of the two extras makes sense.

Stephen Powanda
Stephen Powanda
27 days ago

Hextall is doing a FANTASTIC job.

Ed Andrews
Ed Andrews
27 days ago

how so Petry was not the answer rather have kept Matheson

Jay95
Jay95
27 days ago
Reply to  Ed Andrews

In a vacuum, yes. But, Marino and Matheson for Petry, Smith (highest upside of any of them), and Rutta (he’s the reason the trades had to happen)…they got better.

GBG
GBG
27 days ago

Stupid stupid stupid. Trade speed and relative youth for less speed and “experience.” Starting to question these moves.

Curt Lindner
Curt Lindner
27 days ago
Reply to  GBG

6 years older and a higher cap hit! OUCH! And Hextall STILL HAS 2 TOO MANY!

maybeTROLLn
maybeTROLLn
27 days ago
Reply to  GBG

He’s working on freeing up the LHD logjam, fam! Trust the process. The right hand side is looking pretty, pretty good.

Jay95
Jay95
27 days ago
Reply to  maybeTROLLn

And, now he can trade one of Ruhwedel or Freidman also if they keep the other LHD.

Mark Fisher
Mark Fisher
27 days ago

Put me in the “Don’t Like It” column especially if he is serious about what he said about being happy with his forwards.

Mark
Mark
27 days ago

Didn’t want Petry to leave but he wanted too but Poehling to…he needed more chance

Edgar
Edgar
27 days ago

One less year of commitment helps I suppose. The team is an absolute mess, comparatively. If we want to consider the chances of winning the cup. Not even close

Bob
Bob
27 days ago

Trading Matheson don’t make any sense. One of our fastest players on the team. 6 years younger than Petry. He really picked it up last year. Goaltending was our issue 2 years in a row. Just gave away 2 young defenseman for a 34 year old and a guy who was really bad defensively last year. Carter signing was bad also.

maybeTROLLn
maybeTROLLn
27 days ago
Reply to  Bob

Petry is the better defensemen and he’s bigger.

Wasnt
27 days ago

I would’ve liked it this trade if Pens got Josh Anderson instead of Poehling along with Petry. Getting interesting though

maybeTROLLn
maybeTROLLn
27 days ago
Reply to  Wasnt

impossible! but woulda been nice.

Ed Andrews
Ed Andrews
27 days ago

well Pettersen, Dumo zucker and kap, #2 move i dislike – Matheson was a great player like are number 2 or 3 Defense men, signin Malkin for 4 yrs instead of 3yrs because Malkin was having a tantrum, like he does on the Ice. So lets get older so we can really be bad in a couple of years

Frank
Frank
27 days ago

Marino and Matheson were text book Penguins . . , skills and skating BUT both were softer than Charmin. NO ONE was concerned about going to the front of the net when either was “watching.” So it is worth giving Petry and Rutta a look. It is not as though they just ruined the chances to get out of the first round. Give up the age complaint. The team is full in on the next two years. They give a rats behind about anything beyond that and will deal the the consequences in 2025. I would not doubt they are… Read more »

Jstripsky
Jstripsky
27 days ago

I’ve got a conspiracy theory for you. The deal was made at the draft but not finalized until after the Letang contract was done or the price would have gone up.

Bob
Bob
27 days ago

I agree, Dan. This is a BIG trade. However, it is also a terrible trade. Your only criticism is that “on first glance trading Matheson….would seem a curious move”. I see no merits to the trade, whatsoever. Just look at age, speed, cost, underlying stats, etc. and the only way this works is if they had traded Matheson for Josh Anderson (as suggested by another commenter and as I had proposed in a comment to you in an earlier story). They need forwards, especially some with grit and size, NOT more defensemen. All of the gains of trading Marino earlier… Read more »

Robert Shoemaker
Robert Shoemaker
27 days ago
Reply to  Bob

Do you think Petry isnt better than Marino? Do you remember the playoffs from 2 years ago?

More moves have to be made. He can’t do everything in one day.

maybeTROLLn
maybeTROLLn
27 days ago

Lmao they needed to get better on 5v5 Defense and bigger in front of the net. Not sure what has Bob-o, all riled up. Petry has good offensive 5v5 metrics too.

Bob
Bob
27 days ago

If they would’ve bought out Zucker, how much does that add to the cap?

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