The Montreal Canadiens have traded defenseman Jeff Petry and forward Ryan Poehling to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Mike Matheson and a 2023 fourth-round pick.
This is the second trade involving defensemen that the Penguins made on Saturday, as they also sent John Marino to New Jersey for Ty Smith and a 2023 third-round pick earlier in the day. Fantasy Take on the New Jersey side.
Smith might have been viewed as an "heir apparent" to Letang on the first-unit power play when his trade was announced. But now they've also brought in Petry, who would appear to be a PP2 option along with Smith. Unfortunately, Smith may be stuck on the second-unit power play for a while, as Letang just signed for six more years. Petry is on the books for three more years, and he may be next in line if Letang is injured.
Assuming Smith is on PP2, Pierre-Olivier Joseph could stay in the AHL for another season, pending another trade. With other teams hungry for defensemen, it's possible that the Penguins may not be finished dealing, since Saturday's trades did not clear them of the extra defensemen that they appear to have on their roster. Trading another defenseman could open up a roster spot for Joseph, as those waiting on him in dynasty leagues are hoping for. However, his path to the Pittsburgh power play in any form, let alone the first unit, has been blocked significantly by these two trades.
Poehling will likely compete for a bottom-6 role on the Penguins. He could move up in the lineup if Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin is injured, which would give him some short-term value. Moving to left wing could also help his value if it means he moves up to the top 6.
Where this trade leaves the Canadiens power play is yet to be determined. Chris Wideman – not Petry – recorded the highest number of power-play points among Habs defensemen, finishing fourth on the team with 12 PPP in 2021-22. Could Matheson push him for that spot? Wideman is signed for two more years at less than $1 million, and the Habs don't have any obvious players who can fill that r