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Canadiens Defenceman Mike Matheson Dominant When Healthy



Montreal Canadiens defenceman Mike Matheson

Despite only playing 10 games since he was acquired by the Montreal Canadiens, Mike Matheson quickly established his value by producing some of the same types of numbers Habs fans came to expect from Jeff Petry in his prime.

And it’s not a matter of leading the Canadiens in one distinct statistical category, Matheson leads them in a laundry list of crucial statistics.


Matheson sits first among Canadiens defencemen with 1.37 points per 60 minutes of ice time, owing to an elevated shot rate relative to his defensive teammates.

To give you an idea of the gap in talent within the Canadiens’ veteran defencemen, Joel Edmundson and Chris Wideman have produced 0.38 points per 60 this season.

David Savard, a much more offence-orientated defenceman, isn’t as far behind as his other veteran teammates, but he still trails Matheson significantly with 1.01 points per 60.

The only defenceman that comes close to matching Matheson’s production this season has been Kaiden Guhle, with 1.19 points per 60.

Unsurprisingly, Matheson also leads the defensive group in goals per 60, assist per 60, individual high-danger scoring chances, individual expected goals for, and as previously mentioned, shots per 60.


Matheson has played 20 minutes or more with four defensive partners, with three of the four experiments resulting in very encouraging underlying numbers.

The only player that Matheson did not seem to mesh with was Johnathan Kovacevic.

When Matheson played alongside David Savard, the Canadiens controlled more than 63 percent of the shots and 73 percent of the high-danger chances.

It’s a notable improvement for Savard, who has only controlled a little over 41 percent of the shots and 43 percent of the quality scoring chances this season when not paired with Matheson.

The same phenomenon occurs when verifying Joel Edmundson and Jordan Harris’ underlying numbers alongside Matheson, which points to a trend rather than just a few outlying data points.


Unlike the majority of other Canadiens defencemen, Matheson is built for driving the play up the ice. Again, you could argue Guhle should be in the conversation, and rightfully so.

But as it stands, no other defenceman in the lineup can match Matheson’s vision and anticipation, not to mention his silky-smooth skating.

His skill set allows him to drive the play into the offensive zone due to his affinity for retrieving pucks in his own zone and doing it rather quickly.

He does lose control of the puck at times, and that has led to some heavy criticism, but as evidenced by his underlying numbers, the good definitely outweighs the bad when it comes to Matheson’s impact.

Brass Tacks

Simply put, Matheson makes his teammates better, his team better, and happens to lead the Canadiens in several crucial statistical categories, when healthy.

Unfortunately, health has been a significant sticking point this season, and Matheson is currently sidelined until the end of January.

But there’s no denying his style of play is in high demand around the league, and the Habs are no exception.

He may have only played 10 games for his new team, but Mike Matheson’s impact on the Canadiens roster is impossible to ignore.

All Montreal Canadiens statistics are 5v5 unless otherwise noted, via Natural Stat Trick.

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Brian Chandler

When healthy


If he Needs Savard a Veteran to be good during a rebuild , we’re screwed.

Ghule , Harris and Eddy all play their best hockey beside Savard too.
Eddy is losing his job in MTL for the same reason despite saying in the media recently he does not want to leave, there’s really no option as he doesnt play RD.

Matheson we can move sooner then later though if he’d just stay healthy.
LAK are in a position where healthy or not they’d make a deal for Matheson to move out either Roy or Walker whom are in Clarke, Durzi, Spence and Grans way as they have 6 players total fighting for 2 spots behind Doughty. They all suck at playing their offside and forgotten in all this is Spence and Bjornfot are both being held down because Roy and Walker are in LAK.

If i was MTL Matheson for Walker and Roy.
He’s better then both and combined they make 600k more.
build a deal around that and both sides get better.

Grans(big guy who’s close to NHL playing in AHL to adjust to NHL ice and doing well)

MTL gets better as Roy is the ideal partner for Ghule.

Kovacevic(Walkers hurt as often as Matheson,he’ll move up to Xhekaj’s line then)

Beauty of this is all 3 RD are pending UFA’s the same year we’re expected to be half way through our rebuild with our rookie Defensman becoming reliable leaders for the youth. Both teams win


Mike Matheson Dominant When Healthy? Numbers can make an interesting argument – BUT the number of 10 games makes that argument questionable at best. The body of work (10 games) is not nearly enough to develop a reasonable argument. If a player could get into the Hall of fame on his 10 best NHL games, the ‘Hall’ would be overcrowded…..even more so than it now is!

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