At some point over the next several weeks, the Edmonton Oilers will probably send away Jeff Petry to the highest bidder. The trade deadline is a time for rentals but Petry is a player who has far greater value because of his youth and perceived future value. He has a lot of miles left and has put in his time learning the NHL game. A smart team could end up trading rental price for a useful defender over a long period (should he sign). One team that has shown an ability to make intelligent seasons over recent months: The Montreal Canadiens.
There was a time not so very long ago the Montreal Canadiens were making ghastly transactions, getting less than equal value for players like Ryan McDonagh and Mike Riberio. Since taking over as Habs’ GM in 2012, Marc Bergevin has shown himself to be a very good judge of talent and able to procure needed pieces at good prices.
Last deadline, Montreal picked up defender Mike Weaver (blue have extreme value at the deadline) for a paltry fifth-round selection. They also picked up coveted winger Thomas Vanek for the playoff run in exchange for Sebastian Collberg and a late second-round pick. Montreal also picked up goalie Devan Dubnyk for (I believe) nothing. That’s a good deadline, adding three players who may contribute during a deep run.
Montreal appears to be a team that gets it, and are a solid option for a player whose actual value likely exceeds the current market price.
WHY DO THEY NEED PETRY?
The Habs are loaded right-handed blue at the top of the depth chart, let’s not kid ourselves. They have a range of skills available in this area:
- P.K. Subban, who plays 25 minutes a night. 20 at evens, 3.5 on the PP and 2 on the PK. A tremendous player, I think he’s one of the most valuable young talents in the league. Paired with veteran Andrei Markov on a big minutes line that can play in all disciplines.
- Sergei Gonchar plays 19:29 a night including almost 17 at evens.
That’s a lot for a man past 40 in the regular season, it might get dicey
in the playoffs.
- Tom Gilbert, plays 18:21 a night and is paired most often with young Alexei Emelin but also plays/has played with Nathan Beaulieu. His even-strength possession number is in the mid-40’s and Gilbert is facing tougher zone starts but easier competition.
- Mike Weaver, plays 14:28 per game and has played only 27 games this season. Concussion issues have impacted his year and like Gilbert his possession numbers at evens rank in the mid-40’s. He has faced slightly tougher zone starts but easier opposition than Gilbert.
Petry could help Montreal on the right side by bumping Gilbert down the roster or offering the team insurance against injury to Weaver or another defender. The club may also want to ease the load facing Subban at points during the next 40 games and may be worried about trusting Sergei Gonchar with significant minutes deep into the postseason.
This demonstrates (in my opinion) why a smart GM like Bergevin may in fact be interested in Petry. The lag appears to be the veteran right handers and the workload for Subban is significant. There’s a story here, I believe, that could involve Petry as a solution.
HABS SUGGESTED PAIRINGS
- Markov—Subban: Successful now, why mess with it?
- Beaulieu—Petry: That’s a nice slot I think
- Emelin/Gonchar—Gilbert/Weaver: Lots of nice depth there
I don’t know the Habs as well as I should but for me the addition of Petry gives the team plenty of options and is worth considering.
WHAT ABOUT RETURN?
A year ago, when Weaver went for a fifth, prices were down across the league. I’m not sure we can assume that will happen again, but would suggest that if we agreed a third-round pick in a deep draft year (2015) is a reasonable line in the sand, there’s no way for Edmonton to win this deal. They may also be able to pry a little extra out of Montreal if a bidding war develops and I do like young prospect Brett Lernout.