Jeff Petry explains why he doesn’t play for the Edmonton Oilers anymore

Jeff Petry

At some point, people do need to move on. Jeff Petry used to be an Oiler, he isn’t now, and that’s a shame for fans of Edmonton but there’s no way to change it.

However, I’ve seen lots of speculation that Petry’s departure was precipitated by his refusal to sign a long-term deal with the team. We can put that speculation to rest. According to the player and according to the general manager at the time, it was the Oilers who didn’t want Petry.

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Petry, for the Record

According to Petry, he was interested in a long-term deal. The Oilers were only willing to consider a one- or two-year pact.

Craig MacTavish, for the Record

Craig MacTavish16

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The story with Craig MacTavish seemed to change a little with time. After Petry was signed in the summer, he said the Oilers “looked at a longer term deal” but couldn’t agree on one. It may be that was the two-year deal that Petry referred to in his comments to Basu above. Later on, towards the trade deadline and afterward, MacTavish repeatedly referenced the importance of challenging Petry on a one-year deal. In all three cases, MacTavish emphasized the need to see what level Petry’s play was at, a comment consistent with Petry’s contention that only one- or two-year deals were on the table.

July 7, 2014:

We looked at a longer term deal with [Petry], we just couldn’t agree on a longer term deal… It’s a bit of a risky deal for us because we’re exposed on the asset, and we very much view Jeff as a high-end asset for us. At the same time, we’ve got to see what the level is for Jeff. Jeff’s anticipating a high level and he’s got the ability to hit it out of the park and we hope that’s the case and we’re right back at the negotiation table next year negotiation a long-term deal with Jeff based on a tremendous season and a big upgrade on what we’ve seen the last few years, which has been pretty good.

February 20, 2015:

I’ll just say this about Jeff. We really challenged him on a one-year contract and he’s clearly met that challenge. His game is at a level right now that it hasn’t been at before. I give Jeff a lot of credit for that.

March 2, 2015:

At the end of last year I felt strongly that we had to challenge Jeff on a one-year deal. I didn’t like where his game was going. I didn’t like the urgency in his game and the decisiveness in his game and I thought it was important that we challenge him on a one-year deal. His game, clearly after a couple of months this year hit another level. He was decisive, he was physical, he was playing at a different level and kudos to him.

The Takeaway

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It would appear that this was an unforced error by the Oilers. According to Petry, he was willing to talk about a long-term extension in Edmonton, but the Oilers weren’t. According to MacTavish, it was important to challenge Petry on a one-year deal and important to see what level his game was at; a longer-term deal was offered but may only have been the two-year deal that Petry referenced in his statement.

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It’s a shame. An Oilers blue line built around Oscar Klefbom/Jeff Petry, Andrej Sekera/Justin Schultz and Darnell Nurse/Griffin Reinhart/Mark Fayne would be a significant upgrade on the current group. Petry has mobility and passing skills that the Oilers lack on the back end, and he plays on the right side where Edmonton’s defence is particularly weak.

It’s also in the past, and the man responsible has been demoted. The only reason I bring it up again is that I continue to talk to people who excuse the Oilers organization for the mistake on the grounds that Petry was unwilling to stay with the team. Neither the player nor the general manager of the day ever made that argument. Based on what they have said, it doesn’t have a basis in fact.

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  • AJ88

    The blue line the Oilers have today is the result of years and years of catastrophic decisions by Tambellini/McTavish. Here are the few that come to mind:

    – The ugly end of the Souray saga;
    – Trading Visnovsky for Whitney;
    – Drafting Pitlick and not Justin Faulk;
    – Trading for Nikitin’s negotiation rights and signing him to a rediculous contract;
    – The Anton Belov experiment, wich should have been a warning against Nikitin;
    – Andrew Ference on a 4-year contract;
    – The way Martin Marincin was destroyed as a prospect last year by Dallas Eakins;
    – The Justin Schultz contract and the way he was referred to as a Norris trophy candidate;
    – And of course, the Jeff Petry mess.

    At some point, these things add up. Chiarelli still has a ton of work in front of him.

    • Spoils

      Bang on. Petry is the most recent eg. of that and it makes me mad how these opportunities have been flushed. No wonder we can’t get any traction.

      We have been hit by injuries but now is not time to start flushing our future to try to win games today through a forced trade. In Chia we trust.

  • Soiled Trousers

    Who challenges their best d man with a 1 year deal? Why is he still with the organization. Until he is gone it makes me skeptical about who really is in charge.

  • Soiled Trousers

    The Narcissism displayed by Mac T and K Lowe in the way they ran the team and the decisions they made over the last 5 years has cost this team and Mr. Katz dearly .

  • AJ88

    Shocking that Petry has fit in really well as a mobile #3 defenseman on a very good team. I don’t think anyone had been saying that’s where his level was and once he got into a situation where he wasn’t asked to play over his head his value would shine through.

    …no wait, it’s the opposite thing, everyone was saying that. Never mind.

  • Spoils

    The real disaster here is that we basically got nothing for Petry. You have to get value for your assets. I was speaking to a friend from Montreal the other day and they cannot believe their luck.

    • ubermiguel

      That’s only partly our fault, and I say this as a guy who was and still is a fan of the player.

      The media was talking like Petry was a #6 guy, maybe #5. That’s how he was perceived by everyone around the league outside of Edmonton. Franson, on the other hand, was a top pairing guy.

      A few months later the positions were reversed. According to the media, Petry’s play completely changed, almost magically, once he arrived in Montreal. It was shocking to everyone… except us.

      If you asked anyone outside of Edmonton who our #1 Dman was at the start of last year, I’ll bet 75% would have said Ference.

      Heck I heard guys on NHL radio talking about the Oilers in late September, and they were commenting on the state of the D, and their comment was “outside of Sekera and Ference they don’t have much for D”. Actual hosts of an actual NHL radio show still talking about Ference as a perfectly acceptable top 4 NHL D. Like a month ago.

      Perception trumps reality.

      • I heard an episode of Yahoo’s Marek vs. Wyshynski podcast from last week where they were STILL talking about Ference like that. It was in the context of Columbus needing D and Ference not playing much in Edmonton, so maybe there could be a deal to be had. One of them even suggested Ference would be one of the best, maybe even the best, best defensemen on Columbus’s roster.

        I was pretty flabbergasted. But I also wholeheartedly endorse a Ference to Columbus trade. Sure he could be the best defenseman on their roster, why not? Would a sixth rounder be too much? How about a seventh? Look, just take him, would you?

  • elgruntus

    Petry was toast after his wife made a damning post to Twitter when Eakins sat him in the pressbox in game 2(?) last season.

    The Oilers had zero tolerance for any negative public comments. (eg, Perron, Nick Shultz, Souray, Horcoff)

    The previous management regime always made decisions that were not based on what was best for the on ice product. They lived by some kind of “code”

  • Soiled Trousers

    Yeah we could use Jeff Perry.

    I’ve changed my mind. I miss Petty, despite knowing he isn’t the true number one D we still need. Wish this turned out better.