Rabid Habs

Why Bergevin Must Re-sign Jeff Petry

Habs' Jeff Petry

The first trade of the 2015 NHL trade deadline was at 9:54AM. Habs general manager Marc Bergevin struck early to land coveted right-handed puck moving rearguard Jeff Petry from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for two draft picks in the upcoming 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Bergevin paid up with a 2015 second round pick and a conditional 2015 fifth round pick which, based on the Canadiens playoff success, can turn into a 2015 third round pick if they reach the Eastern Conference finals. It was a small price to pay to solidify his defense core. Bergevin gave up draft picks to fill a gaping hole on the right side of the defense and Petry has more then proven his worth since playing his first game as a Canadien that very same day that he was dealt.

Jeff Petry, a 27 year old, 6’3″, 200lbs rearguard played in Edmonton for four and a half years before being moved to Montreal. Oilers management didn’t think that Petry was a core part of their defense when they handed him a one-year $3.1M deal last summer – which seemed to infuriate many Oilers fans as they wanted him locked in long-term. Petry’s underwhelming stats in Edmonton don’t show the whole story. Quite often he would show flashes of brilliance and the poise to become a top pairing defender in this league. However, playing top minutes on a defensively bad Oilers team, he was often hung out to dry. Now in Montreal, Petry is a vital part of a very strong defensive core. He is someone that Bergevin must make room to re-sign.

Petry is a very fluid skater, a tough guy to play against, he can chip in point wise, plays a physical game for the most part and makes a fantastic first-pass out of the defensive zone. He is a perfect complementary top defender in Montreal.

Jeff Petry will be an unrestricted free agent come July 1st and he will get paid very handsomely for the following reasons:

1) He is a very strong two-way defender; nothing spectacular but very reliable at both ends of the ice.

2) He is only 27 years old; he’s just entering the prime of his career.

3) He’s big, he’s physical and he isn’t afraid to mix it up.

4) He is arguably the best defender that can hit the free agent market in July.

5) Johnny Boychuk’s 7 year $42M ($6M AVG) contract extension with the Islanders.

Jeff Petry is four years younger then Boychuk is; someone will pay for his services and it should be Montreal. Not very often will you find a perfect fit for your defense core via trade but this is what Bergevin has done. He’s created inner competition within his defensive core to be better and brought in a true number 3 rearguard which quite a few teams lack.

Contract Demands:

No one knows what Jeff Petry’s contract demands are however it’s expected that he’ll be looking in the $5-6M range on a long term deal. It’s something he’ll easily get on the open market but, for him, the question is: Will a winning team be able to afford that type of deal?

Montreal can easily make a Jeff Petry signing work. They have Sergei Gonchar, Mike Weaver and Bryan Allen all coming off the books this summer. Alexei Emelin’s name was somewhat circling in trade rumors around the trade deadline as someone that Bergevin could be dangling. It would be a wise move to get rid of Emelin’s $4.1M contract for the next three seasons as a move to create more space to re-sign Petry long term. Another player who may be on the outs in Montreal is playmaker P.A. Parenteau, who is scratched once again tonight. He’s fallen out of favor with coach Michel Therrien, so GM Bergevin may try to unload his $4M cap hit as well. Both Emelin and Parenteau can be replaced easier then Petry can and Marc Bergevin doesn’t have a second round pick in this year’s draft. Exploring the trade route for Emelin and Parenteau at the draft in an attempt to get some picks and create cap space would be a move that just may be shrewd enough for Bergevin to pursue.

Would you be comfortable enough giving $6M to Jeff Petry on a long term deal? I know I would, he’s a perfect fit in Montreal at 27 years old. He fits the core and is one hell of a player.










Tell us what you think by leaving your comments and/or tweeting us @rabidhabs.

Article by Christopher Hatzitolios