Matthew Peca Looks To Move Up Canadiens Depth Chart

Matthew Peca Looks To Move Up Canadiens Depth Chart

The following article was posted on www.sportsnet.ca on Tuesday, September 18 featuring former Quinnipiac standout Matthew Peca.

By Eric Engels

MONTREAL— I’m not going to lie, I did a double take when I saw the Montreal Canadiens had signed Matthew Peca to a two-year, $2.6 million contract on July 1.

Sure, this was a team that desperately needed to add centres in the off-season. But signing a five-foot-eight, 25-year-old who had 20 games of NHL experience to a one-way, two-year deal seemed like a borderline foolish decision to me.

Three months later I was sitting at the Bell Sports complex in Brossard, Que., watching Peca take his first strides in a Canadiens uniform, when a feeling of déjà vu washed over me.

It was on the eve of the regular season in 2015 that a much deeper Canadiens team put in a waiver claim on 26-year-old Paul Byron; an unexpected move that had most every Canadiens fan rushing to Google just to see who the player was. And the initial reaction to Montreal’s decision was a universal dismissal of Byron’s ability, which was only reinforced when head coach Michel Therrien made him a healthy scratch to start.

No one envisioned Byron could be more than fourth-line contributor with the Canadiens—until they watched him play. Now he’s a middle-six forward who’s hoping to breach the 20-goal mark for a third straight season, playing for a new contract as his three-year pact with the team is set to expire in July.

I can’t say whether or not Peca will have the same type of impact with the Canadiens as Byron has, but I can tell you that my first reaction to watching him skate with the team was that it wouldn’t surprise me if he does. It’s a feeling that’s only grown stronger since watching him scrimmage on Sunday, and one that I think a lot of Canadiens might have when they watch him play his first exhibition game against the Florida Panthers at the Bell Centre on Wednesday.

I don’t believe people around the NHL will be too surprised to see Peca succeed, either.

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