Montreal Canadiens: Jeff Petry Heating Up Just in Time to Raise Trade Value

Apr 21, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens Jeff Petry. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 21, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens Jeff Petry. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports /

The Montreal Canadiens had a difficult season on the ice, but it was a tough one off the ice for several of their key players as well.

Shea Weber was essentially forced to retire due to several injuries. Carey Price has only been able to suit up for four games and might be done for the season.

Jeff Petry battled through a few injuries along the way but did play 66 of the team’s 80 games this season. Petry had a difficult season off the ice, and it resulted in him asking to be traded early in the season.

Due to Covid protocols in Canada, and the province of Quebec to be more accurate, Petry’s family remained in Michigan all year while the Habs defender was in Montreal. Professional athletes are afforded many luxuries due to their large paydays, but at the best of times they are forced to spend a lot of time away from their family.

This season, Petry barely got to see his family at all. So, he asked to be dealt to a team in the United States.

Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes was honest and open about the situation with the public. But he said he would only trade Petry if it made sense for the Canadiens.

Petry wasn’t traded, and his play on the ice couldn’t have made it easy for Hughes to find a trade partner. After seeing his points per game rise each of the past six seasons, to the point where he scored 42 points in just 55 games in 2020-21, Petry’s offence disappeared.

Like, it literally vanished. The veteran had just two points in his first 28 games of the season. He was able to pick up a few points in the next couple weeks, but his defensive game didn’t look much better. By the time Dominique Ducharme was fired, Petry had six points in 38 games.

Since then, Petry had started to turn things around. As of the trade deadline, he had 16 points in 55 games, including ten in his past 17. But it wasn’t enough to convince anyone to make a deal that made sense for the Canadiens.

So, Petry remained in Montreal for the remainder of the season, not being granted that trade request.

But he has continued to play well throughout the second half of the season. He added two assists in the Habs most recent game, giving him eight points in his last nine games played. Dating back to a couple days after St. Louis took over, Petry has scored 18 points in his last 26 games.

That is a 57 point pace over a full season and a decent enough sample size of one-third of a season. Basically, over the final two months Petry has proven his offence has not disappeared for good and he could bounce back to be a 50 point defender next season.

That should help Hughes find a trade partner this offseason if Petry still wishes to be traded. His $6.25 million cap hit with three years remaining won’t be easy for other teams to digest, but if they see him as a solid top four, two-way defender who can score 50 points, that cap hit is kind of a deal.

The 2021-22 season will go down as one of the worst in Habs franchise history. At least the rejuvenation of Jeff Petry in the final third of the year should allow the Canadiens to grant his trade request and get a decent return for him at the NHL Draft.

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