CH: Mike Matheson, “a five-star human being”

CH: Mike Matheson, “a five star human being”

UPGRADE DAY

Kent Hughes hasn't gotten his hands on just any defender in return for Jeff Petry. In Mike Matheson, he obtained the services of a Montrealer and, moreover, of a former client. 

In his previous career as an agent, Hughes negotiated the terms of a huge deal for the Pointe-Claire native when the latter was a member of the Florida Panthers. Just under five years later, as general manager (GM), he secured the services of what was seen as a “future Duncan Keith” by then Panthers GM Dale Tallon. /p>

“We weren't ready to start the next season with only two experienced defensemen,” Hughes said by videoconference on Saturday, alluding to David Savard and Joel Edmundson. I can say that Pittsburgh absolutely did not want to trade him, but we insisted.

“I've known Mike since his early days in the Midget AAA. He is a five-star human being who will be able to help our young players. I spoke to Kristopher Letang a lot about this transaction, and he was very disappointed to see him go.”

A second life

The 28-year-old Matheson spent three seasons at Boston College after being selected in the first round by the Cats in 2012. He had so impressed the he signed an eight-year, $39 million deal when he had only played 84 games on the Bettman circuit.

However, Matheson has something little lost his bearings with the Panthers the following campaigns and moved to Pittsburgh in 2020, where he regained his letters of nobility. He had his best season of his career in 2021-2022, scoring 10 goals and collecting 31 points in 74 games.

“He has extraordinary skating. When he was traded to Pittsburgh, we saw a guy who found [his marks] and who improved,” explained Hughes.

“He is able to generate offense from the blue line and we need it. Under [Martin St-Louis], I think he's going to take his game up a notch.”