Making Sense Of The Petry Part-Deux Trade

By JD Lagrange – It was a quiet Sunday of August, when NHL General Managers are usually on vacation. Then, NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman stirred some dust claiming that today could be the day when Erik Karlsson could finally be traded. In subsequent Tweet (can we still call them that?), he announced that there was a third team involved with the San Jose Sharks and the Pittsburgh Penguins, to facilitate the trade… and that team was none other than Montreal.

So here’s how the deals look like:


Jeff Petry back?

That the Canadiens would be involved in this three-way trade is not as shocking as seeing the name of Jeff Petry returning to Montreal. We will recall that Petry and his wife Julie wanted out of Montreal, mostly due to COVID and the fact that Jeff’s family was staying in Detroit for schooling purpose and being closer to extended family. Jeff had a horrible season under Dominique Ducharme but turned things around when Martin St-Louis took over the team, as did other players on the team. In fact, Petry was the second most improved player (after Cole Caufield) when he was traded.

Still, it’s hard to imagine that the Petry’s would be happy to return to Montreal. Jeff is 35 years old – turning 36 in December – and has two years left to his contract. Winning now is more important for players at that stage in their career and that’s why he welcomed a trade to Pittsburgh to start with. Canadiens’ GM did good by him by trading him and, let’s face it, they got the best of the trade by landing Mike Matheson.

It’s difficult to imagine that Hughes’ goal would be to keep him. In fact, don’t be shocked if the Canadiens’ GM is already working the phones to, for a second time in a few months, try trading the right-handed veteran defenseman. In my humble opinion, I would be shocked to see Petry play another game in a Canadiens’ uniform. This could be another Patrice Brisebois situation at the Bell Centre, with some fans booing the player every time he touches the puck.

Canadiens’ perspective

Here’s what Canadiens’ fans should focus on when it comes to this trade. For one thing, the Penguins have retained 25% of Petry’s $6.25 million salary. This means that the cap hit for Montreal is now $4.69 million. If the Canadiens are trying to trade him, this makes for a much more affordable starting salary for the acquiring team, not counting that the Canadiens could decide to keep some salary to facilitate a trade as well. Further, if they do trade Petry, they will get even more assets for him than what they got in that deal.

But key to this trade is the fact that Hughes has traded two forwards, allowing for some breathing room up front for younger players. Being able to trade Mike Hoffman’s $4.5 million salary without having to keep salary is a feat on its own. They’ve also given Rem Pitlick’s $1.1 million salary without retention as well. Both players would have been on the outside looking in on this deep roster.

Acquiring goaltender Casey DeSmith (1 year – $1.8M cap hit) won’t please everyone in Montreal. Jake Allen is entering the first year of his two-year contract extension, coming at a cap hit of $3.85M cap hit, while Samuel Montembeault is entering the final year of his contract at a $1M cap hit. The 31 year-old DeSmith appeared in 38 games last season for the Penguins, compiling a 3.17 goals against average and a .905 saves percentage.

The Canadiens also acquired 22 year old prospect and Montreal-native Nathan Légaré, a rugged right-winger who had eight goals and 19 points in 68 games last season for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the AHL. He also had 76 penalty minutes.

Nathan Légaré – Source:

Last but not least, the Canadiens received the Penguins’ second round pick in 2025.

So the Canadiens did well in this trade. Here’s what it looks like when the dust settles (although let’s see if Petry stays):

– Mike Hoffman
– Rem Pitlick
– Jeff Petry
– Casey DeSmith
– Nathan Légaré
– 2nd round pick in 2025 (PIT)

All in all, this is a good trade by Kent Hughes and the Canadiens. But it’s likely one that will lead to another one before training camp kicks in. I personally don’t think that the Canadiens are done wheeling and dealing. There are still way too many NHL capable bodies at every position. But one young man will greatly benefit from Hoffman’s departure is Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, who would have been fighting with the veteran for the same ice time opportunities.

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