No matter how they spin it, Edmonton Oilers’ GM Craig MacTavish and the rest of his management team came off looking like inept bunglers yet again this morning when they dealt Jeff Petry to the Montreal Canadiens.
The modest return for Petry, considered by some as Edmonton’s best defenseman, was a second-round pick and a conditional fifth-rounder that could become a third-rounder if the Habs win two rounds in the playoffs, says a couple of things – neither one of them flattering.
First, given the returns for other defensemen traded at or near the deadline – Braydon Coburn, Andrej Sekera and Kimmo Timonen, none of them close to being the top blueliners on their respective teams – MacTavish got taken to the woodshed by Marc Bergevin for his best guy.
Or, MacTavish’s best guy really wasn’t that good and the value he received in return is fair market value, given how Petry is perceived by the managers of other teams in the NHL. That speaks volumes, none of them positive, about the quality and depth of the blue line corps MacTavish has assembled in Edmonton.
Add to those the argument MacTavish should have done more in recent months to keep Petry, warts and all, and that he likely could have taken a pretty good run at accomplishing that with the kind of money he threw at Nikita Nikitin, who has been mostly dismal since signing on here.
Reaction to the Petry trade, first reported by Ryan Rishaug of TSN, was swift and exactly what you’d expect as it reflects the cynicism and sentiment that’s been hanging in the air for months.
Issue with Petry isn’t the mediocre return on his rental today.
It’s the poor decision to value Nikitin and Fayne more than him last July.
— David Staples (@dstaples) March 2, 2015
Ron Hextall was able to get more for a 39-year-old who hasn’t played since April than Craig MacTavish was for his best defenceman.
— Jonathan Willis (@JonathanWillis) March 2, 2015
Unless offer to Petry was exactly the $4.5 million a year Oilers gave free-agent Nikitin, I can see why not interested.#oilers.
— Jim Matheson (@NHLbyMatty) March 2, 2015
IT’S ALL WRONG
I’m not going to talk out of my backside here and try to paint Petry as a top pairing NHL defensemen on teams that are any good, like Montreal, because he’s not. That said, Petry played more minutes on Edmonton’s blue line than the rest of the cast MacTavish has assembled, including free agent signings Nikitin, Mark Fayne and captain Andrew Ference.
Fayne is a serviceable second-pairing guy, so I have no huge problem with that, but MacTavish overpaid Nikitin in dollars and Ference in term while, it seems, having only a passing interest in giving Petry and agent Wade Arnott an offer to seriously consider with UFA status pending.
Teams trading what amounts to a rental player seldom if ever get the upper hand in the deal, and that’s certainly the case in sending Petry away – we were told MacTavish wanted a warm body and a draft pick and was not able to accomplish that.
So, Petry is outta here and fans are left to examine a blue line manned, as of right now, by Nikitin, Ference, Fayne, Justin Schultz and youngsters Oscar Klefbom, Martin Marincin and Jordan Oesterle. No doubt, this group will be joined next season by Darnell Nurse, who will be rushed into a situation he’s not ready for, just as Petry was before getting his get out of jail card today.
What a mess.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260.