Montreal Canadiens: Where to start with the Jeff Petry contract negotiations

TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 14: Jeff Petry #26 of the Montreal Canadiens looks on during warm up prior to Game Two of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Philadelphia Flyers during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 14, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 14: Jeff Petry #26 of the Montreal Canadiens looks on during warm up prior to Game Two of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Philadelphia Flyers during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 14, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Jeff Petry is one of the contracts the Montreal Canadiens will need to deal with heading into the 2021 offseason, and it could end up being one their biggest.

The Montreal Canadiens are going to have eight UFAs at the end of the 2020-21 season. Of all of them, the only one who is the closest to being extended is defenceman Jeff Petry while the likes of Tomas Tatar, Phillip Danault, and yes, even Brendan Gallagher, could be on the way out.

Petry was initially obtained from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a second and fourth-round pick in 2015 that turned into Jonas Siegenthaler and Caleb Jones, respectively. After a nice showing in the playoffs, the Montreal Canadiens gave Petry a six-year extension at $5.5 million per with a full no-movement clause that became a modified 15-team no-trade clause in 2018.

In that time frame, Petry has proven to be one of the most important pieces on the Canadiens, so it was reassuring to hear him say he would consider re-signing before the end of the 2020-21 season.

It’s not going to be an easy negotiation. Petry has done a lot in those six years, and a lot has happened as far as what others are making in the NHL during that time frame.

Petry was getting second-pair minutes in his early years on the Habs’ blue line, but everything changed when Shea Weber had that season-ending injury. He took his game to the next level, comfortably handling top-pair minutes and increasing his individual production. And to make matters better, Petry continued off that play boost once Weber returned fairly earning the right of being the team’s best defence pair with Brett Kulak.

The last three seasons have seen Petry score in the teens with at least a total of 40 points. It may not be the gold-standard 50 that top defencemen make, but the consistency is a huge positive. Petry would’ve been close to hitting 50 points this season if the NHL wasn’t forced to pause as he was on pace for 13 goals and 34 assists.

  • 2017-18: 12 goals and 30 assists for 42 points in 82 games
  • 2018-19: 13 goals and 33 assists for 46 points in 82 games
  • 2019-20: 11 goals and 29 assists for 40 points in 71 games.

light. Related Story. A busy offseason on the horizon

There’s also his play in the playoffs to take into account. Petry got the overtime winner against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 and added another goal and assist in the tournament. The scoring decrease isn’t one to compliment, but his increased usage defensively is as he and Kulak effectively shut down Sidney Crosby.

And then there’s the elephant in the room: Jeff Petry is a mobile right-shot defenceman. That’s a premium in the NHL.

Amongst defencemen of that handedness, Petry is 11th in scoring. There’s no reason for his camp not to look at say Jacob Trouba‘s $8 million cap hit and start with that. A cap hit of that magnitude would also match Brent Burns, who has won a Norris and has scored well-above the 50-point threshold despite only having 45 points this season.

The only aside to this is if you’re the Montreal Canadiens, are you comfortable with paying Jeff Petry more than Victor Hedman who has won the Norris in the past and is up for it once again. Hedman did do his team a solid in taking a pay cut for a full no-movement clause, but it’s something to think about.

Next. Explore trading Danault. dark

It wouldn’t be surprising to see Petry’s camp start with $9 million and see how much the Habs push back. But when it’s all said and done, a number with an 8 in it makes the most sense.