Jeff Petry & the Detroit Red Wings


It’s no secret that the Detroit Red Wings are anxious to add a right-shooting defenceman to their roster. The club has been linked to pretty much every name out there – from Tyler Myers in Buffalo to Tom Gilbert in Montreal to Mike Green in Washington and, yes, to Jeff Petry in Edmonton.

Apparently, discussions between the Wings and the Oilers on the matter go back to the summer.

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The Report

Via’s Ansar Khan comes this bit of news:

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland will continue looking for a right-handed shooting defenseman. The Red Wings inquired about Petry in the summer, but the price was too high (the Oilers wanted a center and asked for Darren Helm). The 6-foot-3, 198-pound Petry will be an unrestricted free agent in July, so the Oilers are certain to move him by the deadline. I’m sure Holland will inquire again, but he’s not likely to part with a lot for a rental.

Khan’s entire mailbag feature is dominated by Wings fans wondering what it would take to pick the corpse of the Oilers for players like Petry (would Landon Ferraro or Mitch Callahan be enough, wondered one fan) and Jordan Eberle/Nail Yakupov (“I think trading [prospect Xavier] Ouellet and [Jakub] Kindl (or Johan Franzen) and a possible third-round pick next year for either Yakupov or Eberle would be fair” wrote another). But that isn’t the interesting bit.

The interesting bit is that when Detroit asked, Edmonton evidently came back with Darren Helm’s name and the Red Wings balked.

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Helm is an interesting player, one who is imperfect in some ways but does manage to check off a bunch of different boxes. On the positive side:

  • He turns 28 in January, so he’s a mid-career player like many of the Oilers’ summer additions.
  • He’s posted solid underlying numbers for most of his career, including strong Corsi totals and pretty good scoring numbers for his ice time.
  • He’s versatile, spending time on both special teams in Detroit this year.
  • He’s fast and physical.

As for the negatives:

  • He’s in the Sam Gagner size range, listed a 6’, 196 pounds.
  • He’s exceptional on faceoffs this year but for most of his career he’s been in the 50 percent range.
  • Most critically, a series of injuries (knee, back and groin) have cost Helm a lot of playing time in recent years; he played just one game in 2012-13 and missed half of 2013-14.

There’s no question that Helm’s a solid player; a very good third-line forward who can probably provide spot duty in an NHL team’s top-six but would be hard-pressed to hold that job (his career shooting percentage, on 650 shots, is a meagre 7.5 percent).

The Petry Deal

Craig MacTavish10

It’s worth noting that Khan’s report leaves some questions out there. We don’t know how serious they were (did they go beyond a basic expression of interest on both sides), we don’t know exactly what Edmonton was asking for (it could have been Helm-plus) and we don’t know exactly when this happened.

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But the idea of a deal built around Petry-for-Helm does fit what we know about these Oilers. Edmonton did spend most of the summer looking for a pivot; the team may not have been able to pull the trigger on a deal but that they were looking is not news. Helm’s a good little player who solves a bunch of problems on the depth chart; he would have been a nice add and fits into the parameters of the Oilers’ summer search.

We also know that Edmonton has undervalued Petry all down the line, so it isn’t surprising to hear that the Oilers might have been willing to move their best defenceman for a third line centre.


  • pkam

    Without reading this article, I don’t even know MacT tried to get Helm and was even willing to give up Petry. So much talk here that MacT didn’t try. What would you say if the Wings agreed to that deal? I bet the fans here will now trash MacT for making that trade.

  • pkam

    Many commenters on here saying “MacT should sign Petry, not trade him”. I am sure MacT would LOVE to sign Petry. But why would Petry sign here? Why would he sign with a crap team when he is going into UFA where dmen are getting CRAZY money lately? Petry would be crazy to sign here and not test UFA. At worst he doesnt get as much money as he hoped in UFA but gets to go to a much better team.

  • YFC Prez

    3 thumbs down stating Helm is one of the fastest players in the league. Oh ya I forgot many of my fellow Oilers fans hate two way center’s with ridiculous speed and compete level, my bad what was I thinking saying he was one of fastest players in league. (which is actually a fact based on fastest skater competitions throughout the league every year.)

  • Guy Lafleur

    I have a lot of respect for the Red Wings as an organization. If they want a certain player, or don’t want to part with a certain player, that player is probably a keeper. So I hope the Oilers make a sincere effort to resign Petry this year.

  • nugeformayor

    dump him for a 5th rounder….why would the oilers be interested in NHL calibre d men with more than 50 games experience……this is getting tougher by the minute to cheer for

  • papler

    Therein lies the Edmonton problem. They believe players like Gilbert…I mean Petry is worth a real hockey player. He stinks. So useless they couldn’t even get a beat up, broken down, oft injured Helm out of Detroit. I’m surprised the Oilers didn’t demand Datz and Zet also be thrown in.

    That’s the biggest problem here, the management and a number of posters on here, all feel the same way. Incompetence is worth other teams quality.

    Get real.
    Perty, Yakupov. The only way you would miss them, is if, they were gone and this group of misfits actually won a few games.

    Get used to the losing, if you already haven’t. You got losers in this town and you worship them. And nobody else wants most of them.

    I am so sick of hearing about how the Oilers “need and should have signed” this pile of garbage to a long term. The only thing MacTavish has done right this past few months, is NOT sign this mistake.

    Now MacTavish is showing the intern how to coach. Really? When did MacTavish ever prove he knew how to coach? He had a bolt of lightening strike in 2006, simply because the group had hard nosed players, like Pronger, Smith, Horcoff, Pisani, Smyth, Stoll, Torres, Peca, Staios, Hemsky, Moreau, Roloson…and some softer throw ins. But they had leaders. And they believed. And they brought this hockey dead city to life.

    If you think you’ve got even five players of that caliber (ability and determination) in this group right now, name them.

    Going forward, Nugent-Hopkins is your leader. He’s a worker. Not a sulker.

  • nugeformayor

    Why are the Oilers drafted these players, let them played til their prime and then trade them away?

    These players make all the mistakes when they are young and developing with the team. When they get more matured the team trade them away.

    So many ex-Oilers came back and haunt them. Stop doing this.

    The fans are running them out of town too.

  • Tikkanese

    We also know that Edmonton has undervalued Petry all down the line, so it isn’t surprising to hear that the Oilers might have been willing to move their best defenceman for a third line centre.

    How is trading a pending UFA mid-pairing defencemen for basically any player with cheap term let alone a Center in his prime years being undervalued? Not to mention they have maybe a 1% chance of resigning Petry.

    • papler

      thank you for exhibit A. petry has been the teams best D for a few seasons yet mgmt sees it fit to offer him a one year deal only while simultaneously throwing too much money and term after a so called Norris candidate who obviously thinks that defending means reaching out the stick with one hand while doing pirouettes.

      and the reasom the chance of resigning petry is 1%? see exhibit A. they could’ve locked him up for longer term (which would’ve increaeed his trade value btw) but decided to go all Gilbert on him. and why? oh because we have the fantastic Jultz on our roster, thats why…

      this mgmt has absolutely no clue. see lander, gilbert, petry, our mess at center and d… the list is probably longer than the great wall in china