The way Montreal Canadiens defenceman Jeff Petry ended the season under Martin St. Louis should remove all doubt that the veteran defender is a negative asset. His torrid 57-point pace under St. Louis, as well as his much-improved play since the month of February should restore, albeit not totally, the value Petry once had.
Despite his return to form, some aren’t sold on the quality of his market value. RDS analyst Marc Denis believes that the Montreal Canadiens will still need to include a sweetener to move Jeff Petry for a viable return. He recently took to the airwaves of TSN 690 to suggest that general manager Kent Hughes use some of his draft capital to get a better return for Petry.
“You have 14 picks right now, and you’re not going to pick 14 players,” said Denis regarding the draft capital Hughes and the Canadiens possess for the 2022 NHL Draft. “You have to come to peace at some point with the fact that a draft pick, not a 1st rounder, but a solid draft pick, may have to go the other way with Jeff Petry if you want to get a decent return.”
Denis was also quick to point to Petry’s improved play under Martin St. Louis, but couldn’t shake the attitude and visible frustration that was shown by Petry during the most difficult time of the season.
“I’ll also give Petry the fact that, in the last ten games, he was really good; close to his standards,” said Denis of Jeff Petry’s end-of-season return to form. “It’s just the attitude. I did not like his attitude throughout the season.”
Petry garnered the attention of general managers across during the NHL Trade Deadline this year, as the Montreal Canadiens almost traded him then while his value was at its all-time low. With Petry returning to form to end the season and showing he’s not on the decline, there shouldn’t be a need to involve an extra asset in any trade involving the veteran defenceman.
Jeff Petry’s Return To Form
Jeff Petry had not only risen back to form offensively under St. Louis, he even surpassed his offensive scoring pace from years passed since the coaching change and has been one of the most productive players on the team in that span. Petry’s most productive seasons with the Montreal Canadiens came during the last four seasons (2017-2018 to 2020-2021), as the veteran blueliner put up four straight 40-pt seasons during his time with the team. His average points per game during that span was 0.59 while playing an average of 23 minutes per game on much better offensive teams.
Since Martin St. Louis has taken over, Petry has returned to playing 21 minutes per game or more, while potting five goals and 18 assists for 21 points in 30 games, which gives him a 0.70 points-per-game ratio over that time. Over a full, 82-game season, that would equate to 57 points over a full 82-game season; which would be a career-high. What’s even more intriguing is that 19 of the 21 points he’s accrued have come at even strength, which is outpacing players like John Klingberg, Seth Jones, Noah Dobson and Colton Parayko during that time.
Only Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield and Rem Pitlick have outproduced him offensively on the Montreal Canadiens during the same period, as the veteran blueliner has easily outproduced forwards like Brendan Gallagher or Josh Anderson during that span, despite limited powerplay time.
*Jeff Petry has entered the chat* pic.twitter.com/bLiuxP3N7f
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) February 13, 2022
Petry Trade Talk To Heat Up During Offseason
Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes confirmed on April 24 that he had a potential deal in place for Jeff Petry before the NHL Trade Deadline, which fell through.
Hughes took to the airwaves of TSN during the 1st intermission of the Canadiens-Panthers game last night to talk about his activity during the NHL Trade Deadline period. He answered many questions about what did and did not happen before 3 pm on Monday, but the topic that grabbed everyone’s attention was Jeff Petry.
“We had conversations with a group of teams. As you know, when you’re working on a Trade Deadline, most of the teams looking to acquire that kind of player are close to the Cap,” said Hughes in regards to the difficult task of moving Petry’s contract mid-season. “Acquiring a contract for multiple years at that number becomes a challenge; it’s probably more likely an offseason move. We did have conversations, and there was one team in particular that we thought might materialize and make sense for both clubs, but in the end, Jeff’s here.”
With interest likely to pick up after the NHL Playoffs, when teams will have the luxury of more financial flexibility, Petry’s end-of-season performance could give Hughes the necessary leverage he needs to complete an advantageous trade. There won’t be many top-4 right-shooting defencemen available on the market this year that will impact a game quite like Petry is capable of doing. If Hughes plays his cards right, he won’t have to add anything to move Petry for just value.