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.

Buyout Window Opens

By JD Lagrange – The NHL’s annual Buyout window is opening today and it runs up until June 30th, at 5:00 pm Eastern Time. Every year, teams use this feature to unload unwanted, cumbersome contracts for players that they can’t trade.

Trying to pry information from the Canadiens is like pulling teeth so there is no way to know if team General Manager Kent Hughes is even considering using this option available to him, let alone planning on using it to free up not only some cap space and some roster spots for the young players ready to make a push at the NHL level.

Such is the case for several young players in the organisation. Since former GM Marc Bergevin’s reset in the summer of 2018, where he started piling up draft picks, the Canadiens have drafted around 50 young prospects, in addition to the ones they’ve acquired through trades and those, like Arber Xhekaj, whom they’ve signed as free agents. These “kids” are just starting to push hard for NHL jobs, with many more to come.


As the Canadiens beat the record for most man-games lost to injuries two years in a row, the organization suffered on the ice, which allowed them to select first overall a year ago, and provided them with the opportunity to pick fifth at the upcoming NHL Draft this coming June 28th.

Injuries have also provided younger players the opportunity to not only get their chance in the NHL, but to play in roles that they would have otherwise never been placed into had it not been for the rash of injuries to key players. Call it a silver lining.

Arber Xhekaj, Johnathan Kovacevic, Jordan Harris, Justin Barron and Kaiden Guhle all jumped at their opportunity to not only prove that they were NHL-ready, but that they were able to have a positive contribution on the Canadiens. Samuel Montembeault has progressed nicely, benefiting from Carey Price’s misfortune and Jake Allen’s injuries as well.

Young forwards

While the defense (particularly on the left side) is rather crowded with quality players, it’s at the forward position that things get a bit complicated, and where the buyout becomes an option. Rafaël Harvey-Pinard had 14 goals in 34 games (34 goals pace) since being called up. He has proven to not only being willing to pay the price, but he has shown a flair for scoring big goals. At 24 and having spent two seasons in the AHL, he seems ripe to make the NHL roster this upcoming season.

Rafaël Harvey-Pinard

Jesse Ylönen, while not as flashy as RHP, has shown to be a very responsible player for his age. His six goals and 16 points in 37 games are nothing to write a book about, but his defensive awareness and skating abilities stood out. He is definitely knocking at the door.

Emil Heineman came to North America after a solid season in the SHL. He opened the eyes of many, with seven goals and nine points in 11 games with the Laval Rocket at the end of the season. To the point where head coach Jean-François Houle said that the young Swede was very close to being NHL-ready.

Buyout candidate(s)

Before we look at potential buyout candidates, let’s remind everyone of the rule of thumb of the buyout. The penalty to buy a player out carries over twice the length of the remaining years of the contract being bought out. So if a player has one year left, the buyout penalty will be of two years. If he has two years remaining, the penalty will be on four years. And so on.

Some fans on social media suggested buying out Brendan Gallagher. That makes absolutely no sense solely based on the amount of the penalty, but also with the fact that Gally has four years left to his contract. That’s right, this means that the buyout penalty would be carried over eight long years. It’s not going to happen folks. That’s silly talk.

This leaves two candidates at the forward position, really. Joel Armia has two years left with a cap hit of $3.4 million. The other is Mike Hoffman, who has only one year left at $4.5 million. If Hughes and the Canadiens are exploring buying anyone out, it would be these two under-performing forwards.

Let’s look at what a buyout penalty would look like on the Canadiens’ salary cap for both players, according to

PLAYERCAP HIT2023-242024-252025-262026-27
Mike Hoffman$4.5M$1,166,667$1,166,667$0$0
Joel Armia$3.4M$33,333$1,033,333$1,433,333$1,433,333

Truthfully, I just don’t see Kent Hughes wanting to handicap the team for four years so I would be shocked if the Canadiens bought out Joel Armia. Further, he is a very serviceable veteran who can play up and down the line-up, a big body and he can kill penalties for you.

But when Hoffman doesn’t produce offensively, he’s basically useless. I can see Harvey-Pinard exactly in his role.


What will happen? Your guess is as good as mine. Many fans feel like the Habs should keep Hoffman and hope that he can have a good season, and have value at trade deadline. That’s a position that makes sense and is totally defendable. Myself, I’d rather not waste six months of a young player’s development by taking a spot on the roster, preventing a rookie from progressing.

I’m thinking that Hughes will give it one last ditch effort to trade Hoffman, even if it means keeping some salary for the season. If that fails, a buyout by June 30th is a very valuable option for the Canadiens, particularly if they manage to trade for Pierre-Luc Dubois and need the cap space to re-sign the big center. Stay tuned…