Yesterday Jim Matheson wrote this piece in which he reports that Jeff Petry has had no contract talks with Edmonton and that the club is endeavouring to move him at the deadline. Even though I reported the same thing several weeks ago, I was holding out just a small bit of hope that the Oilers would reverse course and begin negotiations. That just doesn’t appear to be in the cards.
A month ago I took a lot of heat* here when I wrote:
Our source tells us that Petry very much does want to remain a part of the organization that drafted him almost 9 years ago. He has been affiliated with Edmonton for a long time and wanted to see it through to better days. As exciting as it is to become a UFA, there’s a certain amount of loyalty that comes with belonging to an organization for almost a decade.
No doubt wanting to remain an Oiler while also not throwing away an opportunity to maximize earning potential in a profession where injury can take away your career in an instant is a complicated task. However, as per our source close to situation, when Petry’s agent contacted the Oilers to discuss possible negotiations he was told that the club was trying to move him. No contract talks of any nature have happened.
Matheson was able to speak with Petry’s agent who had this to say, “We have had no contract negotiations with the Oilers and we’ve expressed that to Jeff. We expect Jeff will be dealt by the deadline.”
Overwhelmingly after I initially wrote about this situation Oiler fans and media speculated that the Oilers must have offered Jeff Petry a long term deal in the summer that was rejected. The thinking there being that the Oil made their play to keep Petry in the organization and they were flatly rejected.
That not only went against what I had been informed but now Jim Matheson reports that the Oilers did not make such an offer, as they did with Tom Gilbert years ago.
Just as I feared was happening, the Oilers have decided that offering their best defenseman a contract is not worth the time. Their plans simply don’t include Jeff Petry. Whatever it may be, be it relying on a 20 year old Darnell Nurse or ponying up for Johnny Boychuk in the summer, the management’s plan does not see Jeff Petry as part of the solution moving forward.
There are no shortage of teams looking for stable right shooting defensemen who can skate well and play physically all while being defensively responsible. Petry is playing the best hockey of his life and his fortunes all the years of waiting and development are about to pay off…for him. As he approaches his 300th NHL game the college trained defenseman has added a scrappy side to his game that has seen him engage after the whistle and all the confidence in his own game is bringing out the offensive traits that helped him get drafted in the 2nd round.
Matheson cited Detroit, Anaheim, Los Angeles, Montreal, Nashville, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay in his story as teams that might be interested in Petry. We can take Nashville off the list now that they have acquired Franson and as unlikely as it might be we could potentially add Calgary to the list as they try to hold off a surging Wild team who is gunning for that last Wild Card spot. Some of those teams, according to Matheson, have also contacted Petry’s agent about potentially signing an extension with them. This could potentially boost his value in a trade.
The suggested price for Petry is a 2nd round pick and with dominos falling and teams missing out the price could potentially get driven higher. If I were the Oilers I would consider targeting the Lightning. Tampa Bay does not own its 2nd round selection in the Draft as it was of the Callahan/St Louis deal. What they do have is their own and New York’s 1st round picks. They have been rumored to be the runners up in the Franson and Myers deals and should be motivated to bolster their blueline.
MacT and Yzerman already dealt with each other once recently when Yzerman convinced MacT to trade Gagner for Purcell. They are looking for a right shooting defender, have history dealing with Edmonton, and might be convinced to give up one of those high picks. Edmonton may have to throw in another piece, but the Lightning might be the best place to target.
It’s hard to to conceive of a good reason for Edmonton not to have at least made one offer to the Petry camp before moving him. I certainly don’t understand it. I didn’t understand it a month ago. I don’t understand it now. This stance against re-signing Petry, if indeed nothing changes in the next 2 weeks, is going to be a defining moment for Craig MacTavish.
We were told before Christmas that Craig’s on it. Now I’m just wondering what Craig’s on.
*Why did you guys think I would lie to you?