Petry back with Canadiens, but he will be traded again before the season starts?

Aug 7 2023, 9:51 pm

In a move that shocked hockey fans, defenceman Jeff Petry has been reunited with the Montreal Canadiens.

The Habs were involved in a three-way trade that featured the San Jose Sharks sending all-star blueliner Erik Karlsson to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday.

The blockbuster deal saw Montreal sending forwards Mike Hoffman and Rem Pitlick to the Penguins in exchange for goalie Casey DeSmith, forward Nathan Legare, Pittsburgh’s 2025 second-round draft pick, and Petry.

While fans are excited about the sweet return on the deal, which involves Pittsburgh retaining 25% of Petry’s $6.25 million annual salary, there’s a chance that the 35-year-old does not return to Montreal’s lineup.

Here’s why.

Petry wanted out of Montreal

Back in January of 2022, Montreal was at the bottom of the NHL standings. The city was also under strict COVID-19 regulations.

Amidst the doom and gloom, there were multiple reports that Petry and his family wanted to go elsewhere. Things escalated to the point of his wife, Julie receiving messages of harassment online after she shared frustrations about Quebec’s handling of the situation.

By the summer, Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes was open about wanting to find a deal for the Michigan native.

“We’re still working, talking with a few teams about Jeff Petry,” said Hughes. “It’s our priority – as long as the trade works for us.”

A few days later, Petry, along with Ryan Poehling, were moved by the Canadiens to Pittsburgh in exchange for defenceman Mike Matheson and a fourth-round pick in the 2023 draft.

While Petry had 15 teams listed under his no-trade clause in Pittsburgh, the Habs were somehow not included.

That either means he’s not opposed to returning to the city, or he did not see it likely that he ends up back here via trade.

No word from Hughes

Petry was an important player in Montreal, logging top minutes on the back end on a regular basis and helping the team advance to the Stanley Cup Final in 2021.

With that said, many find it strange that the organization has not really commented on his return. While Hoffman and Pitlick were given farewell posts on the team’s social media pages, there has been virtually no mention of Petry (aside from the trade announcement) from the club.

To be fair, there has not been any welcoming of DeSmith or Legare either.

Hughes has also not spoken to the media about the deal yet, which may indicate that another deal is on the horizon.

Meanwhile, there is also no word from the player or his wife, who is active on social media, regarding the trade.

Age and value

At 35, Petry is likely playing out the final few years of his NHL career.

When looking at Montreal’s young core and long-term strategy, he doesn’t really seem to fit in with the blueprint going forward.

Sure, they are in need of right-handed defencemen, but it’s obvious that Petry is better suited for a team that can contend in the near future.

And despite his veteran status, Petry still has value on the market, especially with the Penguins retaining some of his salary. In 61 games with Pittsburgh last season, he put a respectable five goals and 31 points.

If the price is right, the Habs can multiply their assets once again in a deal involving him.

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