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Canadiens Trade Talk

Hughes: Petry Trade Needs To ‘Make Sense For Canadiens’

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Montreal Canadiens

In case it wasn’t clear already to other NHL general managers or media or fans, Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes isn’t interested in making the prototypical NHL trade salary dump in order to fulfill Jeff Petry’s NHL trade request.

On Wednesday, the Carolina Hurricanes used the NHL trade market to acquire a former Norris Trophy winner and two-time all star in defenceman Brent Burns in a clear salary dump by the San Jose Sharks. Many around the NHL are wondering if the NHL trade market has now been set for teams trying to move defencemen of Petry’s ilk that have a considerable cap hit and term on their contracts?

On Thursday, Hughes once again made it clear that regardless of the temperature of the NHL trade market, he’s not backing off his stance that if he does eventually move Petry, it won’t be a salary cap dump or a trade where the Canadiens end up eating a solid portion of Petry’s contract.

“The thing we’re not looking for is to take on salary or give picks or prospects so another team can take Jeff Petry,” Hughes said in a media Zoom call on Thursday. “Jeff Petry is a good defenceman. If we trade Jeff Petry, today or in the future, it must improve our team.”
The first-year Canadiens general manager had to postpone his NHL Free Agent Frenzy media availability on Wednesday until Thursday and as reported here Wednesday night, Kent Hughes confirmed that NHL trade talks for Petry was a major reason why.
“We had trades available to us yesterday,” Hughes said. “At the end of the day, it’s about finding the right trade for the Montreal Canadiens.”
What if Hughes can’t find the right dance partner to consummate the Petry trade that makes the most sense for both parties?

“At the end of the day it’s about finding that trade that makes sense for the Montreal Canadiens,” Hughes reiterated. “If we’re able to find it, we’ll do it. If not, Jeff will have to return to Montreal and play here. We love him as a player, I think he loves everything about Montreal other than the complications from a family perspective.”

Another potential NHL trade market setter for high-end defencemen will be what unrestricted free agent defenceman John Klingberg signs for. Hughes was asked if the fact Klingberg remains unsigned is factoring in on NHL trade talks for Petry?

“Not necessarily,” Hughes replied with a giant smirk.

All kidding aside, Hughes seems determined to not let his team’s lack of cap space force him into a trade he doesn’t like.

“At some point, one way or the other, we will gain cap flexibility as contracts conclude,” Hughes emphasized.

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