It seems more and more likely that the days are counted for Jeff Petry in Montreal and rumours are everywhere about the veteran defenseman. In his segment of Insider Trading on TSN on Tuesday, Pierre LeBrun cited a NHL executive who thinks that the Dallas Stars will make a push for Petry. He feels like the Stars will be trading John Klingberg and that Petry would be a suitable replacement for him.
Klingberg is reportedly asking for a long term deal at around $8 million per season and Dallas is not willing to go that high. The contract talks have stopped and shifted to trade talks. With three years remaining on his contract, Petry’s cap hit of $6.25 million is more along the lines of what they’re willing to pay.
The issue is that the Stars are battling for a playoffs’ spot so trading Klingberg, a pending UFA, would need to bring back immediate return in that trade. Either that or they would have to complete another trade to fill the gaping hole left on the right side of their defense in order not to jeopardize their chances of making the playoffs. And we know what the playoffs’ mean to teams, particularly this season.
Always according to LeBrun, Canadiens’ GM Kent Hughes has informed other NHL teams that he doesn’t have to trade Petry and that he won’t sell him at rebate because if his production this season.
Fans are quick at diminishing the value of a player. Many feel like Petry isn’t worth anything and that the Canadiens will have to keep half his salary and take whatever they can take for him, base on this season’s production and play. Those are in many cases the same ones who claimed to anyone who would listen that the American defenseman was the true number one on the Habs, ahead of Shea Weber. They’re not signing the same song right now.
Fortunately for the Canadiens, it’s not the fans who decide on a player’s value. Just recently, LeBrun stated that Petry’s value was the same as it was last year.
Jean-François Chaumont from Le Journal de Montréal has spoken to four professional scouts about Petry. Two from the Eastern Conference, two from the Western Conference. According to them, teams will ask about what’s affecting his play but the consensus is that he has not forgotten to play hockey.
“What we’re seeing of Petry this season is not what we’d see if he was on another team. He didn’t just become bad defenseman overnight. In the past, he benefited of playing behind Shea Weber even if he had some success when Weber was injured. Petry is not a true number one.”
One NHL executive thinks that Petry could fetch a similar return as Duncan Keith did to the Blackhawks. The Oilers gave up good young defenseman Caleb Jones and a conditional 3rd round pick for Keith. Of course, there is the possibility of sweetening the pot as we’ve explained recently in order to up the return in a trade.
Hughes in no hurry
In order to get the value that he wants for Petry, Hughes and the Canadiens will have to be patient. There are plenty of examples of players asking to be traded and their GM not rushing to trade them until they got value for them.
Back in 2017, Matt Duchene asked Joe Sakic to trade him. It took months before the Avalanche traded him to the Senators in 3-way deal with the Nashville Predators. For his patience, Sakic received:
A conditional 1st round pick, a 3rd round pick, Shane Bowers and Andrew Hammond from the Senators. He also got a 2nd round pick, Samuel Girard and Vladislav Kamenev from Nashville.
Habs’ fans will remember when Jonathan Drouin asked Steve Yzerman to trade him out of Tampa Bay, right? Yzerman didn’t rush. He had offers but waited for someone to step up and the Canadiens did by giving up young defenseman Mikhail Sergachev.
Does the name Jack Eichel ring a bell? It took ages, about a year, before he finally got traded. And for their patience, the Sabres received blue chip prospect Peyton Krebs, young power forward Alex Tuch, a 1st and a 2nd round pick.
We are in no way comparing Petry’s value to any of the players mentioned above. What we’re saying, however, is that the offers early on were nowhere close to what the return ended up being in all of those cases. So the Canadiens don’t have to trade Petry by trade deadline. It would be better for the veteran defenseman, being able to be with his family and all. But Hughes has to do what’s best for the Montreal Canadiens, first and foremost. It could mean waiting until the off-season.
The Unfortunate Case of Jeff Petry by Bob Trask