Many thought that the Habs would go after some defensive depth on deadline
day but there weren’t as many expecting that they would land the top blueliner
available in Jeff Petry. However, Marc Bergevin managed to acquire one of
the most sought after rentals at the deadline. Having had a couple of days
to ponder the move, our writers offer up their thoughts about how he’ll fit in
and if the Canadiens paid too much.
Simon Aronson: Marc Bergevin’s acquisition of Jeff Petry is
both an upgrade as well an addition of depth for the Canadiens’ blueline. Petry
is an excellent skater who can play on both the power play as well as on the
penalty kill and will likely slot in ahead of Gilbert, Gonchar, and Emelin on
the team’s depth chart. As the GM always says, you can never have too many
defencemen, and now Montreal has eleven that have played NHL games this season,
so should injury strike before or in the playoffs any potential loss can be at
least somewhat mitigated.
Another thing to like about the deal is the price Montreal paid to get Petry,
giving up only a 2nd round pick and a conditional 5th round pick in the deal and
not losing any roster players. Montreal has an abundance of quality prospects as
well as two 2nd round picks in the 2016 draft. The one aspect of the deal that I
don’t love is that the defence group which already predominantly featured
players known for their puck moving ability does so even more now. Hopefully the
lack of physicality on the back end does not hurt the team in the playoffs and I
do believe that most can at least hold their own.
Matt Gauthier: I have to be honest and admit that I was
personally hoping that the Habs would not enter the Petry derby. We all know
Petry has one of the worst plus/minus record in the league and that he is a late
bloomer that finally had a crack at the NHL because of a horrendous Oilers’
D-core. He has great size but is not a checker, great speed but is not an
offensive guy, great first pass but has not many points to show for it. Plus,
all we hear is how deep this year’s draft is going to be, so losing 2nd and
(possibly) 3rd rounders is a hefty price.
True, he was on the top defence pair in Edmonton, is able to log minutes and
will probably have the occasion to flourish in a lesser role. However, he will
soon find out that being the Habs’ 4th d-man is much more pressure than the 1st
d-man for the worst NHL team. The only thing I like is that he is going to have
the chance with the Habs to showcase himself in a better light in order to land
a good contract when he becomes an UFA this summer. So here’s hoping for a nice
Brian La Rose: Petry will fit in well with the Habs, giving
that second pairing a big boost while giving the Habs very strong depth heading
into the postseason. However, this was a pricey return even if it was
lower than the crazy prices other teams paid for their blueliner additions.
Assuming they have a good playoff run again this year, they could be faced with
having just one pick in the top 115 in the upcoming draft. This comes
after having just two in that same range last season. That can really
deplete a prospect base in a hurry.
However, you have to give to get and unfortunately for the Canadiens, this
wound up being a sellers market. Petry’s a nice pick up and I expect he’ll
fare better with the Canadiens than he did in Edmonton. And for the price
the team paid to get him, the pressure and expectations should be high.
Paul MacLeod: A decent sized defenceman with excellent skating
ability and a good first pass, Petry solidifies the right side of the D and adds
much needed depth for a playoff run. Most commentators were shocked that
Edmonton got such a minimal return with defencemen in such demand but again,
this fits Bergevin’s operating procedures. If there is a knock on Petry, it is
his abysmal plus/minus, but given how horrendous the Oilers team defence and
goalies have been this season, many anticipate that he will not be a minus
player in Montreal. Once again, a solid move that brings back a useful player
without surrendering much in the way of assets.
Norm Szcyrek: I like Petry and he will easily fit into the #3/4
slot on the Habs. There is no doubt he will be a true rental player because he
will be looking for #1/2 money in the open free agent market this summer. He has
decent size and skill and should be playing hard to showcase himself for that
upcoming contract with another team. It was encouraging to see that Marc
Bergevin did not part with the asking price of a first round pick unlike other
GMs in the league for other defenceman trades near the deadline. He offered a
similar deal to the Vanek trade last year which was reasonable.