With the Stanley Cup Playoffs still going on and plenty of teams just beginning to get their ducks in order ahead of the NHL Draft and free agency, things have been extremely quiet on the NHL trade market. More specific to the Montreal Canadiens, there hasn’t been too much chatter on defenceman Jeff Petry, whom the Canadiens openly tried to trade ahead of the March NHL Trade Deadline.
Well as my partner-in-scribe here at Montreal Hockey Now indicated back on April 26 as the 2021-22 NHL regular season wound down, Petry’s value was likely to increase in the offseason as teams decide which free agents to bring back. One situation that Marco referenced was that of the Dallas Stars and veteran John Klingberg who is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13 and has requested a trade:
‘During the offseason, teams will be able to shed salary through expiring contracts and the first buyout period, which begins on July 1. It’ll provide teams looking to add to a competitive roster with the necessary flexibility to incorporate Petry’s contract within their salary structure. The market will not be very ripe with defencemen of Petry’s ilk, as Kris Letang and John Klingberg, both of whom will demand far more than Petry’s $6.25M Cap hit on the long-term. Outside of the above two, the free agency pool for top-4 right-shot defencemen is rather shallow, and that will only stand to benefit Hughes’ leverage in any Petry trade.’
Well, it appears that the Klingberg situation could indeed directly affect Petry – who like Klingberg, requested a trade from the Canadiens back in December and the Canadiens – on the NHL trade market. In his latest post for The Athletic, NHL Insider Pierre Lebrun shared a similar opinion on the link between the Petry and Klingberg situations.
“If the Stars lose Klingberg to free agency, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Montreal pick up the phone and gauge the Stars on Jeff Petry, 34, who has three years left on his deal at a $6.25 million cap hit,” wrote LeBrun.
As many who follow the NHL know, Pierre is one of, if not the most connected in our biz, and I was lucky enough to once call him a colleague working for ESPN. So based on that, one would imagine Pierre isn’t just spouting off ideas here. More often than not when Pierre addresses an NHL trade rumour, it’s because where there’s smoke, there truly is fire. Knowing that, I put out a few feelers to some of my NHL sources and the general feel was that Marco and Pierre are totally onto something. In fact, one NHL executive had this to say on Petry and the NHL trade market.
“Marco and Pierre are onto something for sure. That makes total sense and based on what I’m hearing, I don’t expect Klingberg back there but that can change. Still something to keep an eye on. Petry could help any contender but the Stars need to figure out if they’re contenders first.”
We’ll keep an eye on this as the NHL Draft in Montreal nears and on through free agency if a.) Petry doesn’t change his mind and stay in Montreal and b.) get moved on the NHL trade market at the draft.