Setting The Price

For some time the talk coming out of speculators was that
the Oilers could get a third round pick, maybe a second, for
Jeff Petry. That kind of return would be tantamount to disaster for the Oilers
organization as Petry is certainly worth more to them, even with a significant
raise, than a third round pick in the draft. It’s not out of the realm
of possibility, mind you, as MacTavish was only able to secure a third
round and fifth round pick for Ales Hemsky at last year’s deadline. But
a couple of notable defensemen have moved recently and that might be setting the price quite
a bit higher for Jeff Petry.

First and foremost, Jeff Petry is a quality asset. In a
perfect world the Oilers would have extended him in the summer for something
along the lines of four years at 4 million per year. Given the fact that he
accepted a 1 year deal for 3 million, I’m not sure much more than 4×4 would
have been necessary, but I would have been happy with an Anton Stralman-like
4.5M. After Marc Methot signed his deal for 4.9 million, any thought that Petry
would sign for significantly less than that went out the window. Then there’s
the matter of the Oilers not starting any contract discussions of any kind
until the 11th hour. I think for the Oilers to sign this player now
at the last second it would take a huge overpay. Technically it’s still
possible, but it would represent a massive swing in the way they’ve dealt with
this player.

The Oilers defenseman is a good skater who excels at
exiting his zone and keeping his club out of danger. Since becoming a full-time
NHL player he has been in Edmonton’s top three for hits while also maintaining a
positive Corsi For Percentage relative to his teammates. In other words, he is
hitting a lot of bodies and it isn’t because he never has the puck. In fact, if
you can take the giveaway stat as a proxy for puck carrying, Jeff Petry is up
there with TJ Brodie, Joe Thornton, and Andrei Markov for how much time they
have the puck on their stick.

Until Oscar Klefbom’s abdominal muscles become self-aware,
Jeff Petry is the best defenseman on the club, even if he would be a second
pairing player on a good team. And make no mistake, he should be on Edmonton’s
second pairing. The problem is that they don’t have any better options, and when the team tries to over-extend the Schultz/Klebom duo the
results are usually catastrophic.

With that in mind, if the Oilers are dead-set on trading him,
then the recent returns for Cody Franson and Andrej Sekera are at least setting
a decent price for rental defensemen at this deadline. Both of these
players have landed a first round pick and a prospect of some note.
That is far and away better than what some were originally calling for the
Oilers to receive in return for Jeff Petry. Can MacTavish get something similar?

It might be a tough ask because those two players are bigger
names around the league than I think a Jeff Petry is. Cody Franson in
particular is a significantly more productive player offensively than Petry,
plus he’s bigger. For me, I would rank those three as 1) Franson 2) Petry 3)
Sekera, but not everybody will see it that way. Sekera’s biggest draw is that
last year he had an out of body experience that lasted 74 games where he picked
up 44 points despite only ever breaking 20 one other time in his entire career.

I’m going to provide some info on each player just to give
an idea of what they are doing out there. It’s not a complete picture but it
includes Even Strength Points per 60 minutes, Shots per 60 minutes, Corsi for
Percentage, Corsi For Relative to Teammates, and who they played with the most.
The data is taken largely from stats.hockeyanalysis.ca which remains one of my
favourite sites.

Here’s the rundown on Franson:

Points/60 1.08

TOI/G 21:23

Shots/60 4.00

CF% 47.7%

CF%RelTM 1.6%

Played most with Dion Phaneuf

Here’s a rundown of Sekera:

Points/60 0.71

TOI/G 22:46

Shots/60 3.77

CF% 53.2%

CF%RelTM 0.7%

Played most with Justin Faulk

Here’s a rundown of Petry:

Points/60 (Ev) 0.58

TOI/G 20:57

Shots/60 4.83

CF% 48.9%

CF%RelTM 0.9%

Played Most with  Andrew
Ference

WHAT CAN WE GET?

Franson (along with Mike Santorelli) was able to land Nashville’s first round pick and prospect Brendan Leipsic. The
pick today would be 30th as the Predators are atop the league
standings with a six point lead on the second place Canadiens. Leipsic is
a former third round pick who scored 120 and 91 points in his last two
season in the WHL before graduating to the AHL where he has had a nice rookie
campaign of 38 points in 51 games.

Sekera was able to land the Los Angeles Kings’ first
round pick this year (if they make the playoffs) and prospect defenseman Roland
McKeown. If indeed the Kings do make the playoffs
this year then the Hurricanes could be getting a pick in the 20th range.
McKeown was taken 50th Overall last year after scoring 43 points in
62 games for the Frontenacs. He is considerably off that pace this year which
is concerning, but if you listen to a lot of scouts then you’ve heard that the Frontenacs
have trouble scoring.

The Leafs were able to turn their big right shooting
defenseman into a low first rounder and a B prospect. The Hurricanes
were able to turn their defenseman in to a better first and a C prospect.
All that remains to be seen is what the Oilers and MacTavish can turn their
defenseman into. The prices set by these two are high but Jeff Petry doesn’t score
like Franson and hasn’t had a standout year like Sekera did one season ago. What Petry also has never had is the chance to play with talents like Dion Phaneuf or Justin Faulk as Franson and Sekera have. Maybe he will on his new club.

I remain hopeful that the organization can get something of value
for Jeff Petry. It might be magic beans, but they could be the best magic beans
that almost a decade of development into your best defenseman can buy.