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Penguins Acquire Petry, Poehling from Canadiens for Matheson, Draft Pick

The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired defenseman Jeff Petry and forward Ryan Poehling from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for defenseman Mike Matheson and a 2023 fourth-round draft pick.
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Just because it's called free agent frenzy doesn't mean trades can't take centre stage. 

The Pittsburgh Penguins pulled off their second significant deal of the day on Saturday afternoon, acquiring defenseman Jeff Petry and forward Ryan Poehling from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for defenseman Mike Matheson and a 2023 fourth-round draft pick. 

And just like that, the Penguins have revamped their blueline while adding some extra veteran presence to an already aging roster in the process. 

Frankly, Petry is a quality add. Despite rapidly approaching his 35th birthday, Petry remains a high-end, right-shooting, top-four defender with offensive pop who is equally sturdy in all three zones. 

Context is important when evaluating him, too. Before being stuck on the worst team in the league that ultimately gutted their entire organization midway through last season, Petry racked up an impressive 12 goals and 42 points in 51 games in 2021, all while logging nearly 23 minutes per night in ice time. He then continued his strong play into the postseason that year by logging over 24 minutes per game for the Canadiens en route to the club's shocking journey all the way to the Stanley Cup final. 

In Pittsburgh, Petry will now arguably have the most talent he's ever had to work with at the NHL level, and perhaps may be able to take a step back when it comes to defensive responsibilities. 

The term on his deal, though, is where the risk enters the equation. 

At a cap hit of $6.25 million, Petry still has another three years left on his contract, which will expire when he's nearly 38. Can the veteran keep up his current level of play at that age? It remains to be seen. But the Penguins are banking on it. 

In Poehling, the Penguins get a depth centre that once showed promise but has stalled in recent years. With how known the organization has been in recent years for pumping out their forward reclamation projects, though, Poehling could indeed find a role in Pittsburgh he otherwise wouldn't have in Montreal. 

As for Matheson, the 28-year-old had something of a breakthrough season in 2021-22, finally emerging as a legitimate top-four defender while chipping in 11 goals and 31 points in 74 games. What made him expendable was, again, the term left on his deal, which expires one year after Petry's and pays him $4.875 million per season. 

In Petry, the Penguins clearly believed they could bring in an upgrade over Matheson that, while being more expensive, has less of a commitment stapled to him, as well. 

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