Photo credit: Markerzone

Shocking Turnaround for Mike Matheson: His Replacement on the Top Power Play Unit May Already Be Known

Published December 19, 2023 at 7:44 PM

Since joining the Montreal Canadiens, 29-year-old defenseman Mike Matheson has greatly impressed with his significant offensive contribution. The Quebec native has amassed an impressive total of 13 goals and 42 assists (55 points) in 79 games under the direction of Martin St-Louis.

However, despite his ability to support the offense, the CH's power play has been struggling when he is on the ice. Although the quarterback position will likely be Lane Hutson's in the future, a short-term solution could potentially help the Canadiens succeed in this aspect of the game this season.

Many observers strongly believe that Justin Barron, formerly of the Colorado Avalanche, could bring a different dimension to the quartet of Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield, Sean Monahan, and Juraj Slafkovsky. The 22-year-old defenseman has excellent offensive skills, and his stunning overtime goal last night further demonstrates his immense talent.

"I stand by what I said: Justin Barron is a better fit than Mike Matheson for the first power-play unit. Sooner or later, this change should happen." - Marco D'Amico

Furthermore, it is important to consider that Justin Barron is a right-handed shot. While this may seem trivial, it makes a significant difference, especially in facilitating passes to Cole Caufield for one-timers. Barron also has a superior vision of the game compared to Mike Matheson, appearing more inclined to create plays rather than just shooting the puck at the net.

Even though the veteran Matheson has more points (21) than his younger teammate (11), such a change could improve the Canadiens' power-play efficiency. Notably, Justin Barron ranks 10th among NHL defensemen with a total of six goals, despite missing some games at the start of the season.

Justin Barron's statistics since joining the Canadiens:

ˇ 2021-2022: One goal and one assist (2 points) in 5 games with the CH

ˇ 2022-2023: Seven goals and nine assists (16 points) in 26 games with the Rocket

ˇ 2022-2023: Four goals and eleven assists (15 points) in 39 games with the CH

ˇ 2023-2024: Six goals and five assists (11 points) in 28 games with the CH

Should Martin St-Louis use number 52 instead of Mike Matheson on the first power-play unit?

Here's Justin Barron's goal that secured the Canadiens' victory last night:

December 19   |   518 answers
Shocking Turnaround for Mike Matheson: His Replacement on the Top Power Play Unit May Already Be Known

Who do you think will be better in five years?

Barron36871 %
Matheson15029 %
Latest 10 stories