By JD Lagrange – As we are only two weeks away from the NHL Draft, rumours are picking up momentum. One of the hottest ones around Montreal is the one sending Jeff Petry to the Dallas Stars. This is not the first time that the Stars are linked to the Canadiens to get the veteran defenseman. And unless there’s an unexpected turn of events with John Klingberg, those rumours should persist until Petry is traded somewhere, anywhere.
Back in February, we reported the rumours of Dallas’ interest in the 34 year old Petry. Back on June 11th, Stars’ GM Jim Nill threw oil on the fire to make things flair up again, and the Pittsburgh Penguins entered the race as well. And just a couple of days ago, news came out that the Stars were also looking at replacing Alexander Radulov, who will be returning to the KHL, and Mike Hoffman could be added to the Petry deal. According to NHL Insider Pierre LeBrun, five or six teams are talking to the Canadiens about Petry. Enter the Detroit Red Wings as well.
So what could the Stars and Canadiens be discussing? There are several variances of a few scenarios possible, of course. But there are only a few pieces of the puzzle that would fit into what both teams are trying to accomplish. For one, we know that the Stars are in a “win now” mode. Their core is aging with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin getting up there in age. The Canadiens are at the other end of the spectrum, having the first overall pick and trading away some veteran players.
Then, there’s the cap situation. As we know, the Canadiens are close to the cap, which is one of the reasons why they are looking at trading a few veterans. According to capfriendly.com, the Stars have a projected cap hit of approximately $63 million for 17 players for the upcoming season. That does not include pending RFAs starting goaltender Jake Oettinger and 40-goals’ scorer Jason Robertson. They do have cap space but not much, depending if they sign those players to bridge deals or secure them on long term contracts.
At $4.5 million, Hoffman is a cheaper and younger alternative to Radulov, who carried a cap hit of $6.25 million. This makes sense for the Stars. Petry also has a $6.25 million cap hit, same as Radulov, but less than what Klingberg will be getting. For Dallas, those two players, cap included, makes a lot of sense. But that’s adding $10.75 million of cap.
The Canadiens can help by sweetening the pot. The Stars had goaltender Anton Khudobin and his $3.33 million cap buried in the minors. In nine games with the Stars last season, the 36-year old had a 3.63 GAA and a .879 Sv%. In the AHL, he maintained a 2.55 GAA and .903 Sv%. Last year’s backup, Scott Wedgewood, is a pending UFA. The Stars could bring Khudobin back as the backup or… the Canadiens could take him and his one-year deal out of their hands. Perhaps Samuel Montembeault would be a good option for the Stars?
The other option for cap space would be the Canadiens taking 25 year-old Denis Gurianov as part of the return. The 6-foot 3-inches, 195 lbs Russian winger has a year left at $2.9 million before turning RFA. The number 12 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft has good size, skates well and owns excellent scoring instincts, but has yet to put it all together at the NHL level. He had 11 goals, 20 assists, 31 points in 73 games last season.
But the key piece for that trade would be the Stars’ first round pick. They are set to select 18th overall and the Canadiens would love to get their hands on that pick.
Hypothetical trade scenarios
So here’s a potential trade scenario. Add on one side or the other to make it work, but we’re talking center pieces here, not necessarily specifics.
|To DALLAS||To MONTREAL|
|– Jeff Petry ($6.25M – 3 yrs)|
– Mike Hoffman ($4.5M – 2 yrs)
– Samuel Montembeault (RFA)
|– 1st rd pick (18th overall)|
– Mavrik Bourque (C)
– Anton Khudobin ($3.33M – 1 yr)
Within a few pieces, you have the base for a potential big trade for both teams. It is important to note that according to eliteprospects.com, the Stars have six prospects in the CHL with over a point per game, all listed as centers. So trading Bourque is trading from a position of strength and is not leaving the organization thin at that key position.
Whether it’s that trade, or a deal goes down with the Stars or any other team, it seems like Jeff Petry’s days as a player for the Habs will be coming to an end soon. One can only wish that Kent Hughes can maximize the return for him. Acquiring another younger top-4 right-handed defenseman, as he did in Justin Barron, would also go a long way into balancing the two sides of the defense.