Now that the Montreal Canadiens have facilitated a three-way trade with the San Jose Sharks and the Pittsburgh Penguins, the attention turns to Jeff Petry.
INSTANT ANALYSIS: The Canadiens Come Out As Winners In Karlsson/Petry Trade
Petry, 35, has two years left on his current contract, which pays him an annual average value of $6.25 million.
However, given the Penguins retained 25% of Petry’s contract, his cap hit will only count for $4,69 million of the allocated salary cap space.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, there’s still a chance that Petry may end up staying in Montreal. The issues regarding his final year with the Habs were all related to the pandemic, which is no longer an issue.
And it’s also worth pointing out that despite the downtick in production toward the end, statistically speaking, Petry was the Canadiens’ best defencemen for roughly half a decade.
He’s no longer in his prime, and he’s likely to continue his decline, but he would be considered an upgrade on many of the options the Canadiens currently have on the right side.
That being said, the Montreal Canadiens are in a rebuild, which means it’s the perfect time to develop young players. Petry’s presence in the lineup would certainly mitigate those opportunities.
If general manager Kent Hughes is inclined to move Petry, the mere fact that his contract has already been discounted by 25 percent should lead to more interest around the league.
After all, Petry still managed to earn five goals and 26 assists in 61 games for the Penguins last year, and his underlying numbers were much better than most would expect.
But if Hughes decides to sweeten the pot by retaining more salary, the suitors around the NHL should be plentiful.
Whether it’s another 25 percent retention or the full 50 percent option, acquiring an established top-four defenceman such as Petry for under $3 million per season suddenly fits into many teams’ financial plans, even in the current NHL landscape, which has put several teams into a difficult position given the salary cap did not rise significantly ahead of the 2023-24 season.