Canadiens' Mike Matheson cleared for contact
Montreal Canadiens defenseman Mike Matheson David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens have been without Mike Matheson for most of this season. After suffering an abdominal strain in October that sidelined him for more than a month, he found himself injured again in December. He’s totaled just 10 games for his new team this season and just one in the last month.

Despite that, the 28-year-old defenseman has six points, which still ties him with Joel Edmundson and Johnathan Kovacevic, two of the team’s regular defensemen. He’ll be able to add to that total soon, as he donned a regular jersey at practice Friday, suggesting he has been cleared for contact. The veteran defenseman will add some stability to the back end when he returns and give the team another supporting option for its young group.

For Matheson himself, there are some milestones to chase. He is six assists away from 100 for his career and needs the same amount of points to hit 150. He won’t be able to reach 500 games after missing so many, but getting on the ice and back in shape is important, even if the Canadiens aren’t competing for the playoffs. Remember, Matheson is signed through the 2025-26 season, meaning he’ll still be around as Montreal starts turning the corner on its rebuild.

That is of course unless he’s flipped – which is also not completely out of the question. Defensemen with elite skating ability, offensive upside and experience logging big minutes are difficult to find, and at a $4.875M cap hit, Matheson may actually be an interesting target. He’s still on the right side of 30 and has found his game again after some struggles a few years ago. It might not be this year, but the Canadiens could be presented with an opportunity to flip him for some additional future assets, should he be able to stay healthy and productive.

This article first appeared on Pro Hockey Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

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