< /p> UPDATE DAY
Mike Matheson didn't expect to be traded, but when he learned he was going to play for the Montreal Canadiens, the Quebec defender jumped for joy at the idea of playing for the Montreal Canadiens. childhood team.
Indicating that he grew up being a fan of Saku Koivu, the 28-year-old admitted that the last few days had felt somewhat unreal, during a virtual press conference held on Monday.
“I did not see the exchange coming, but when I saw that it was Montreal, it was quite special, he launched, a broad smile on his face. I was a big fan of the Canadiens; my family and I watched every game. It's a pretty crazy feeling, it's pretty hard to describe.”
“Now I dream of winning a Stanley Cup in Montreal.”
Using your speed
Originally from Pointe-Claire, Matheson relies on the speed and quality of his shot to contribute to collective efforts. This is how he intends to help the Habs. He also arrives in full control of his means, since he totaled 11 goals and 31 points in 2021-2022, two personal highs.
“I am at the top of my form when I skate, I distribute the puck and I use my skating to support the attack. When I skate well, I play my best hockey. […] We talked a bit [about my role], but we will discuss it more as the season approaches.”
He also wants to play the role of the good veteran in a defensive squad that will be very young in Montreal.
“The young people are there for a reason, so they don't need anyone. or to prove their worth. But at the same time, it can be useful to have someone to lean on and ask questions. I got to watch guys like [Evgeni Malkin] in Pittsburgh, and I tried to take advantage of that to learn as much as I could. I hope I can do the same here.”
Matheson nevertheless arrives in Montreal with a hefty eight-year, $39 million contract, which has four seasons left. His salary of $4.875 million a year should keep him sharp in a market where fans often have short fuses.
But he's been through tougher times before and he's not worried about it. Rather, he sees it as a source of pride.
“My time in Pittsburgh allowed me to take a step forward in my development,” he said. I could see what Kristopher Letang was doing all day. I am ready to take another step forward. It's a challenge, but I want a challenge like this.”
“If you're not from Montreal, it's hard to understand. It's not just a sport, it's a religion. I grew up in that environment. It will be really special to put on this jersey at the Bell Centre.
He also had good words for his new head coach, Martin St-Louis, who, according to him, has no difficulty in obtaining the respect of his proteges.
“First, we saw him as a player overcoming all adversity. We can say, when he was hired, he immediately got the respect of the players. I obviously haven't been in the dressing room, but he seems the type of coach you want to play for. It sounds cliché, but it's important.”
Matheson was secured along with a 2023 fourth-round selection for Jeff Petry and Ryan Poehling on Saturday.