The Oilers must sign Jeff Petry

The Oilers can’t officially re-sign Jeff Petry until January, 2015, but when you look at the lineup, organizational depth and the potential free agent market it is obvious they must sign their 2nd round pick from 2006.

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After a slow start, likely due to not playing any preseason games, Petry is playing is most consistent hockey in two years. He’s been assertive with the puck, solid defensively and he has been using his skating ability to get involved in the rush.

The Oilers do not have a better right shot defencemen right now, and they have none in the system who could replace him. Justin Schultz has better offensive instincts, but his overall game is not as developed as Petry’s.

The Oilers can’t afford to trade Petry for picks for prospects at the deadline, or lose him to free agency in the summer. Like most young defenders he has had some tough moments in his first 253 games, but Petry is now a solid, consistent NHL top-four D-man and the Oilers simply don’t have enough of them.

The Oilers have spent five years developing him. Trading or losing him now would be, to put it politely, idiotic.

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Petry is an excellent skater with a hard shot, when he uses it, a good stick and he is emerging as a more consistent defender under Craig Ramsay’s guidance.

“He’s taught me to protect the middle of the ice. On a 3-on-2 rush for instance, don’t get so focused on the puck carrier on the outside because he is the least dangerous player. He is an excellent teacher,” said Petry. 

Ramsay’s coaching experience was a welcome addition to the Oilers, but Petry is also more experienced and he is just coming into his prime. The majority of D-men don’t develop consistency in their overall game until they are 26 or 27. Petry turns 27 on December 9th, and I believe he is maturing into a very steady defender.


I don’t see any reason why the Oilers wouldn’t try hard to sign Petry to a five-year contract. If you compare recent free-agent D-men who are similar to Petry, a five-year $20 million deal is very reasonable. If they have to go as high as Stralman’s deal that would be reasonable as well.

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Anton Stralman signed for $4.5 mill/year for five years with the Lightning last summer. Stralman was 27 years old when he signed the deal, and he was not an offensive D-man. He only had 13 points in 81 games with the Rangers, but he was a very good puck distributor/transporter and he had very good possession numbers. ( I didn’t use Niskanen’s $5.75 mill/year deal because Petry doesn’t have the offensive totals like him.)

The Oilers need Petry. 

If they don’t sign him who will they replace him with? Schultz is not ready to play tougher competition. Moving Nikita Nikitin to the right side so Martin Marincin, Oscar Klefbom and Darnell Nurse can play on the left side next season is an option, but Nikitin is not as good as Petry. 


The best right shot defenders are Johnny BoychukMike Green and Zbynek Michalek. Boychuk is clearly the best of the bunch, but he will command close to $6 million on the free agent market, and the Islanders are already making a strong push to re-sign him.

Green is too similar to Schultz. They don’t need both of them on the roster.

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Michalek is a solid defender, but there is no guarantee he’d sign here. He is also five years older than Petry and in two or three years when the Oilers are hoping to be a serious contender will he be as effective as a 29 year old Petry? I doubt it.

The Oilers had to endure the difficult years of his development, and it would make no sense for Craig MacTavish to let him walk away now.

Unless MacTavish can get a good enough return at the trade deadline to break even in a trade, I see no reason to consider moving him.


When I asked Petry if he’d sign an extension he gave the standard response, “My agent deals with that. I’m just focusing on having a good season.”

I’d understand why he’d want to test free agency. He’d be the best 27 year old D-man available on the market. He likely would have more competitive teams courting him, but will a team offer him more than they offered Stralman? I’d be surprised. There is no reason the Oilers should be outbid for his services even if he elects to test free agency.

The other issue is how the Oilers handled Ladislav Smid. Smid signed a four-year deal to stay in Edmonton and bypass free agency, but then he was dealt six months later.

The Oilers will likely have to give Petry a limited no-movement clause so he feels that he has some control over where he goes, if the Oilers decide they want to trade him after he signs a contract.


If the Oilers plan on becoming a playoff contender in the future they need to retain proven NHL players, and Petry is that. He is just entering his prime, after a few inconsistent seasons of developing, and his next five seasons will be much better than his previous five.

If this organization wants to improve they must re-sign Petry.

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  • Guy Lafleur

    Call me kooky but with Babcock not resigning in Hockey town is there a chance an Alberta boy might wanna come back to Alberta once Eakins is gone this summer ????

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      Isn’t Babcock a saskatchewan boy?? Why would someone who will basically get to hand pick his job wanna come coach here? It’s simply unrealistic

      • Joy S. Lee

        Difficult to say where he ends up? Don’think its Toronto , they are in the same pit as Oilers.”

        For sure he wants to get out of Detroit [arm pit of USA]!

        I would guess one of the Beach Cities.San Jose might have an opening. Also read/heard last year that Cutter might retire[LA] so there is another option.

        Which ever organization gets him it will be
        $ 3 large for small.

        He would never fit in Edmonton even if there was a beach [not counting West Ed Mall], because Katz wants to run show from his cave.

  • Duchess

    I find it pretty unfair to Mac-T to assume that re-signing Petry is even an option. For all we know (and let’s be honest, in all likelihood) Petry has told the team there is zero chance of him staying. In this case the best possible option is to trade him at the deadline. Of course if/when this happens, everyone will rag on the Oil for exporting actual NHL talent without mentioning that perhaps there was no other choice.

    Honestly Mactavish must have one of the toughest jobs in the league. He started with very few assets, and because we are such perennial losers those assets tend to bail ASAP, or have to be over-paid to acquire/stay.

    …Holy crap, did I just defend Oilers’ management? What is wrong with me?

  • Duchess

    I want to know why anyone thinks Petry would willingly resign with Edmonton for anything less than a king’s ransom?

    If I’m in his shoes, I want out of this misfit circus, ASAP. The only way I’m willing to stay is if you offer me WAY more money and term than anyone else. Short of that, buh-bye.

    Can’t blame him either. In some ways, I wonder if Hallsy is a wee bit jealous of Petry having an out, while he’s stuck trying to lead the band of misfit toys to something other than a last place finish

  • Natejax30

    I remember the good ole days, where players didnt mind playing in Edmonton and it wasnt this pit where careers went to die. We had a hard working team with a workman like attitude and the main reason we had good players run out of town/their careers destroyed was because their wives slept with teammates and they slept news reporters. Thats gonna be the next step. Dont tell the players though, if Hall Nuge and Ebs find out about how well that escape plan worked…

    Well now that I think about this, can this really get any worse?

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    Not about us, but there’s an article out there about the Caps and their set of “culture issues”. It brings up the question “Can the Capitals change their culture without changing their players?”

    Which may be applicable to us. I hate to say it, but you could get a new GM, new POHO,new coaches, but if we still have the same cast of characters (a few decent stars, a lot of over the hill/AHL pieces), I’m not sure how much culture change we could get.

    Just something worth considering for our own purposes-that it may sadly take an entirely new team, not just mgmt, to show any kind of success here

  • vetinari

    I love the first photo of this article… it looks like Petry is disgusted with his team and doesn’t want to “fist bump” these guys unless they are clutching a plane ticket out of town.

    • Joy S. Lee

      Do what I’ve been doing: check in on the results after the fact, read about it on OilersNation, etc., and catch a game when it’s easy to do so in order to see what’s going on for yourself. It’s called making the most of your time, and lessening the frustration.

      I’ve been faithfully watching this sh!t show for years now, and quite frankly, my fan card (which will probably never actually cease) came closest to expiring when I watched the team make the stupidest decisions possible in their talent asessments and treatment of this player over that player. In Calgary, they treat all players with respect within the framework of the team. No one guy is above another. In Edmonton, guys like Schultz are told they are Norris material before they sign on the dotted line, just to help with negotiations and expectations. Then, when he plays as if it doesn’t really matter when the puck is in his own end, that’s okay, just give him more ice. Bloody brilliant.

      Meanwhile, developing guys like Petry, who the team should know inside and out, are watching the organization treat the guy they love like gold in return for crap results, while Petry busts his ass against top competition and gets no love for it. Of course he wants out of town! Management has made it quite clear that he is a SECOND-TIER player, to go with those annoying second-tier fans. Maybe he sees himself as a future first-tier player… but management’s having none of that. Right or not, they’ve already chosen that guy. And EVERYONE knows it because, well…the team has proclaimed it! In advance!!

      Frankly, the “Trust us, he will be great, eventually,” is an extremely strange statement for such a results-driven business that usually pays salaries on performance. This team is so used to paying them based on what might be that they’ve become ensnared in their own web of confusion.

      The moment that you, as an organization, determine that there are tiers for every player, coach, and fan – then the team concept naturally flies out the window. In a tiered-system, two players can be treated completely differently for the same circumstance. Unity, as a team, is absolutely critical to success in today’s NHL. Treating everyone according to their rank is not how you build unity within the highest of competitive environments; is it? But these guys with all the rings know that, right? It’s odd that they earned those rings being second-tier players, and all, but it makes it stranger yet that they purposefully incorporate this culture of entitlement.

      People see what they’re doing, what they’re thinking, and what they’re planning (hell, they TELL us!).. and are often completely befuddled by it. In short, your third-tier fan card fits in just fine with this fourth-tier organization. The nicer perks are already taken, but they’ll find a place for you and your $, though you may feel a little dark, cold, and uncomfortable. You’ll learn to live with it, we all have.

      • The scouts have failed....

        I just wanted to compliment this guy on a fantastic comment.

        He nails it with the fact that there are two sets of rules, one for the core members of this team that were named by our GM and then there’s rules for the rest of them. Nobody can try and tell me that it doesn’t divide a locker room when your on a losing team and see that everybody is lumped into the same accountability when the core guys should at this point be carrying more weight on their shoulders.

  • Rdubb

    In my opinion i could not undertsand why the Oilers only signed Petry to a one yr deal, i think that that was an idiotic move on the Oiler mangements part…
    You hear MacT talk up Justin Schultz so much and for unknown reason mentioned Schultz and Norris in the same breath, and that was laughable. Does Schultz have some offensive abilty, sure, but his defense his terrible to non existant.
    So, maybe MacT and Oiler brass should stop yapping about Schultz and start thinking about Petry, pay more attention to him, put more thought into him & realize that he is Edmonton’s 2nd best D (behind on Fayne).
    I think that Edmonton brass only gave Petry a 1yr deal becasue they figured that they have some good young that are getting ready for the NHL, well, that’s all good, but those young D also need veteran leadership to aid them through their first 2 or 3 years of NHL hockey. But, for whatever reason, Oiler brass seems to think that the young up & coming players don’t need veterans to help them, look @ all the young forwards who never really had anyone to “show them the ropes”, they were thrust into prominent positions without any experience, and if Edmonton lets Petry go for a few apples, then they’ll be doing the same thing with Klefbom, Nurse & to a point MM…now that’s half your d-core, & who do they have to look up? Justin Schultz, he is a terrible d-zone player but for whatever reason is getting huge minutes, Ference, maybe a good leader (i have no idea as i am not in the room), but will be on his last legs, Nikitan, i’m still on the fence with him. at the time i thought it was a good deal, but after watching him play thus far this yr, i feel MacT made a big mistake. So who’s left, Fayne? I don’t really see him being a leader, maybe he is still getting his feet wet here, but…

  • Rdubb

    There is not a chance in hell that Jeff Petry will resign here. He’s been treated like crap by management and has had enough of this Oiler Gong Show. He can write his own ticket with a number of teams next summer so why would he give that up to stay with the worst organization ever in hockey. Maybe they can replace him with another one of Eakins ex Marlie players.

  • One more point Gregor made in the article is how the bush league organization treated Smid after he signed here and passed on his free agency, traded 6 months later. How about what they did to Sam Gagner, signed him to a limited no movement clause with a gaurentee they wouldn’t trade him before the clause kicked in. Well look what they did, a few days before the clause kicked in they moved him. BUSH LEAGUE all the way. Regardless if you liked Gagner or hated him he is WAY better than any 2nd line centre the organization has now. Oh yes they got marshmellow soft Teddy Purcell back for him, great BOLD move MacIdiot!