A well-placed NHL source has confirmed to Montreal Hockey Now that the Montreal Canadiens and Dallas Stars are indeed talking trade with just over two weeks to go to the March 21 NHL Trade deadline.
The Stars and the Canadiens have been linked to each other in NHL trade rumours for some time now, and things got a little spicier on Friday evening when Eric Crawford, the Canadiens’ head of pro scouting took in the game between the Stars and the Winnipeg Jets. The Stars have been connected to the Canadiens with their interest in Habs defenseman Jeff Petry for the better part of the last two months, but things may be heating up now that Dallas looks to be headed toward a playoff birth.
As talks have broken down between the Stars and potential unrestricted free agent defenseman John Klingberg, the Stars have been exploring options for the puck-moving blueliner on the NHL trade market. They’ve also looked into how they would replace the right-shot Klingberg on their blue line and therefore been linked Petry. Given Petry’s improved play as of late, many doubts surrounding his ability to impact a roster have slowly begun to dissipate, and teams have begun taking notice. With the Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers joining the Stars as interested parties in Petry‘s services, it’s very noteworthy that the Canadiens would send their top pro scout to watch the Stars while on the road.
— Mike McIntyre (@mikemcintyrewpg) March 5, 2022
This isn’t the first time the Stars and Habs have been watching each other leading up to the NHL trade deadline, as the Stars had a scout in attendance on Feb 21 when Montreal defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2. Petry was all over the ice during that game, picking up an assist, playing over 21 minutes and displaying exceptional poise with the puck. He was said to have impressed many with his recent play, which could explain why talks regarding Petry have heated up.
There were scouts from Dallas and Detroit in the house last night, and Petry had himself quite a good game.
I'm not saying anything is imminent or even in the works, but where there's smoke, there's fire.@MTLhockeynow
— Marco D'Amico (@mndamico) February 22, 2022
Should the Stars look to make a trade for someone of Petry’s ilk, it’s notable that the Stars had young defenseman Thomas Harley in uniform for Friday night’s game, as he is exactly the kind of defenseman that general Kent Hughes and and executive vice president Jeff Gorton would covet on the back end. Harley, a former 18th overall pick in 2019, is a 6-foot-3, 220-pound offensive defenseman with great skating ability and skill. His defensive game and decision making require a little bit more polish moving forward, but that’s like a gamble Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes and executive vice president Jeff Gorton are willing to bet on with Martin St. Louis as head coach.
Any deal involving Petry will likely include a Cap dump coming back the Canadiens’ way. If it was a deal with the Canadiens, that might be goalie Anton Khudobin who carries a $3.3 million cap hit for another season.