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


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.


  • 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

    Yeah we could use Jeff Perry.

    I still need to remind myself that his contracts is way inflated given the years in Montreal. And his style of play pairs perfectly against those softer east-coast teams. He makes too much money now given he’s a much more known quantity anyways.

    Loved having you here Jeff, but understand why you’re gone. The way we lost him was tough, but I wouldn’t want his current contract on our books either.

    • Danglishish

      Yeah, who wants to pay $5.5 million for a guy who is now the 2nd best dman on the best team in the league? Why do that when you can spend similar money on a stud asset like Nikitin? Great point.

  • 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.

  • 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

    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 .

  • Soiled Trousers

    Why would we want to keep Jeff Petry, when there is a roughly equivalent player out there in Sekera who will demand approximately the same amount of money, but whom we have limited exposure to and haven’t seen him play in our tire fire of a system? Also Sekera is left handed, so that’s great because most people aren’t left handed. Right? I think so…..

  • 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.

    • Danglishish

      If I remember correctly Gregor said in an article after talking to Petry before they signed NN he was looking for 4 years at 4-4.5 mill and MacT wouldn’t budge on the one year trial.

      Ask Gregor in one of his articles to confirm pretty sure it was him that knew the numbers.

        • AJ88

          Even if they have been they are on controlled contracts for several more years, you can work out a long term deal. The stupid thing about the Petry deal was they took him right up to UFA status to “challenge” him. He met the challenge and they had left themself no wiggle room to negotiate, he was already one foot out the door.

        • AJ88

          It is similar but I believe Yak is on two-year.

          Schultz is 1 year at 3.9. Would you have signed the 2014-15 Schultz to a longer term? He wasn’t going to get paid less.

          Yak is a 2 year 2.5. Not unreasonable considering what the other #1 picks are getting. It gives Yak a chance to pick it up and Chia time to see what he’s got.

          I believe they can both be offered new contracts before they’re Free Agents and it looks like it’s working out okay for all.

          I don’t know what Petry was looking for in a longer term. Unless we know that, we don’t know now big a booboo MacT made in not signing him to a longer term. Then once he signed the 1-yr, UFA status has to look pretty inviting.

  • 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?

  • Dogleg

    I am thinking that Petry made up his mind that he was leaving shortly after TMac/Howsan signed Nikitan.That was taking most of his contract money and giving it to a player that was was going to challenge him for his spot. Can’t fix stupid

  • Spoils

    Contracts really weren’t the old regime’s forte.

    Ference’s NMC, Nikitin’s overpay, messing up Petry, caving on Gagner before arb when his trade value was at a high, Schultz’s second contract, etc.

  • Dogleg the dysfunction of the era of the nepotism. If MacT is ever removed from the Senate, I think we can safely say he won’t be spotted on the World Poker Tour. Sadly the remnants of this era can still be can still be found haunting the boardrooms. The last bastion of respect MacT had in my eyes was extinguished when he stayed with the team. To me that’s pathetic, he might as well say, ” yeah I know my plan was crap and I sucked at my job as GM and I don’t think I can help this team but the money is great and I can still hang with Scotty and Kev. Besides it was my idea to draft McDavid.”

  • CaptainLander

    Wonder how good Petry would look with Scriven in net and not Carey Price. I liked Petry, but at the time I did not think Petry was and still do not think Petry is a 5.5 mil dollar player (and I know neither is Sekera). Would be interesting to to see what that dollar amount for Petry was in the long term contract. If MacT had a chance to sign this guy for 4-6 years at $3.5-4 mil, shame on MacT. If Petry’s camp wanted $5-5.5 mil for 5-7 years. Shame on Petry. It is unfortunate how things turned out…for the Oilers, Petry made out like a bandit.

    • Soiled Trousers

      Petry plays the second most minutes on Montreal!! Sometimes he plays more minutes than Subban and you Oiler fans still try to downplay how good he is! He runs second power play, virtually does all the penalty killing and moves the puck well, plus he knows how to do a slap shot unlike your number one power play expert ha ha ha!!! It falls me that you would still say he is not worth the money they pay him WOW!!!!!! So your saying the Montreal organization has no clue as well!! They knew immediately what they had, and surprise as soon as they realized it they gave him contract he deserved!! Price is good but put him in front of Oiler D and he would be NO better than Talbot!! You have a great goalie as well just can’t see it buried behind the worst Defence in hockey for a decade and running!!!!
      WOW Petry not worth his contract!!! Typical Oiler fan don’t know what you have even after its gone

  • AJ88

    So coming off the 2013-14 year Petry had a total of 17 points and not great defensive stats. Shultz had 33 points and basically the same defensive stats. What kind of contract were the Oilers supposed to offer Petry…long term and $5M a year? As it sits right now I would like Petry on the Oilers but when the 1 year contract was agreed to there was not a lot of bitching going on from ON writers and the media.

    What I want to know is what was on the table when he was sent to Montreal…then I will decide if Petry actually wanted to stay here.

    • robc186

      Clearly the deal wasn’t anything long term otherwise Petry probably would have taken it and/or MacT would have alluded to making the offer.

      Also i think the comment about no one bitching about the 1 year contract is completely inaccurate. I am pretty sure Matt Henderson, Jonathan Willis, and Lowetide (3 ON writers) were saying it was stupid of the Oilers.

      • AJ88

        “Clearly” based on info you have? I am a Petry supporter and always was, there was plenty of bitching about Petry’s 2013-14 season from the media and ON writers, none of them would have signed Petry to lucrative long term deal. As usual ON’ s perfect 20/20 hindsight vision. Again as a supporter of Petry I wish he was still playing with the Oilers, what was the offer at deadline time?

  • Dogleg

    MacT should have been FIRED for that STUPID mistake, demotion is a joke, get that clown and whoever else had a voice in that STUPID decision looking at you Howson/Lowe the hell away from this team. This really pisses me off…

    • Should not have been hired in the first place. And should have been fired for several other blunders. Mac-T, Howson and Lowe will never work for another franchise, because nobody would ever hire them. Why do we always have to things different? Any other franchise and these guys are all unemployed.Complete the purge. I imagine the players are as sick of seeing them around as much as I am.

  • Soiled Trousers

    The fact that MacT stayed on after ruining this team and being demoted tells you all you need to know about the man. No dignity, no self-resect, and no self awareness. Just a arrogant and deluded self promoter with no shame.

  • Cain

    At the time of that contract, Petry was a whipping boy for a huge percentage of OilersNation. Too soft,too inconsistent, doesn’t play physical.

    I find it very convenient that nobody mentions that now, and how everyone loved him and valued him as a long term asset. That is not the truth, lots of people on this site wanted him run out of town.

    I also remember Jonathan Willis writing about Petry’s actual numbers,hits,etc and people weren’t buying that either. They wanted “Soft As Butter” Petry gone.

    Myself included.

    • CMG30

      Petry was a flashpoint, no doubt. There were plenty of people on both sides. As you point out, it was also a proxy fight between the believers and nonbelievers in the fancy stats.

      There are lessons to be drawn from the Petry saga. Notably, that good players on bad teams don’t always look as good as they are. Fans need to be aware of this and stop trying to run top players out of town, just because a team is not having sucess. This applies double to GM’s.

      Petry was/is a great success of the Oilers drafting and development, but was a complete and utter failure of the organization to recognize value within itself and to properly manage its assets. In my (uneducated) estimation, I believe that the handling of Petry is the biggest reason McTavish is not GM today.

    • hagar

      Yep. The decision to only offer him one year was made while Petry was still very much an unstable dman. When Petry got better (still not awesome or anything) after that year, he simply left.

      He called Mact out originally to either sign him long term, or all he was getting was another year. He wasn’t going to let Mact get a free year to see if he was worth signing or not.

      I can’t stand Mact, but I am not sure I would have signed him long term either based on his play at the time. Sure it’s easy to call the move stupid after Petry improved that year, but it wasn’t that stupid at the time.

      • Petry was not an unstable dman when he was offered a one year deal.

        Willis and others who examined his underlying numbers recognized his value even then (and before then) and suggested locking up Petry. The Edmonton MSM and most Oilers fans at that time saw Petry as soft and lacking in “compete”. This has always been the case with this player type in this city and continues to be the case.

        Case in point in on the opposite side is Gryba. People who examined his numbers and have watched him for ages like Travis Yost saw him for what he was. An ok dman as a bottom pairing guy at best who could break up a cycle and then proceed to treat the puck like a hand grenade and rim it off the boards to no one in particular. Check the comments in the other Willis article right now. People love the Gryba type model and hate the Petry type model. It goes back to Poti as far as my memory takes me and I suspect it goes back farther than that.

    • that was the main battle cry of the lantern & pitchfork crowd…(Spector swallowers)

      he’s soft..!! yet he was at or near the top in hits

      but hey, that Klefboom and Shultz combo is a hitting machine….

      Nikitin will rock ya too…

      Petry 2nd on the Habs in hits behind his pairing pard Emelin…

  • camdog

    The worst part is they could have signed Petry a year earlier and got him for 4 years at 16 million, but the organisation dithered. (Might have been Tambelinni).

    On a side Mact thought Mark Fayne would be able to eat Jeff Petry’s minutes. Think of that for a minute, especially those that continue to defend him…

  • 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”

  • Gordie Wayne

    Damned if you do and damned if you don’t. At the time Petry was not worth a long term contract at 5 million plus everyone has a short memory he was not playing that well. He started to round into shape in the second half last season and you needed a crystal ball to know what he was going to become. So easy to second guess now but I don’t remember any media jumping up and down to sign him when he was coughing up pucks and playing semi soft a season ago. If MacT signed him long term at that time the fans and media would have tarred and feathered him. Easy to second guess a gm after the fact.

    • camdog

      If the media at the time would have known at the time that Mact didn’t even try and get a long term deal done, it would not have gone down well for Mact…

  • ubermiguel

    If I was Petry I would have been trying to get as far away from this tire-fire as possible, so strangely this makes me think a little less of him not MacT. This all happened before the Golden Ticket and the coaching/management changes of course.

  • Gordie Wayne

    A lot of improvements have been made to this team in very short order:

    1. Drafted McDavid

    2. Lowe and MacT out of important positions in org. Yes, they are still here, but their influence with Chia is likely low.

    3. Acquired experienced GM

    4. New veteran coach (I would argue top 5 in league). And don’t discount his assistants – they are a huge improvement over prior coaching staff.

    5. Acquired 2 new goalies, one of which looks great so far (the jury is still out on Nilson)

    These are major changes, and if you told any fan after last season that even 1 of these things were to happen, we would have been ecstatic.

    But things aren’t going to turn around in an instant. This team will get there, but we still need to give it time to start working.

    Let’s try to look at this season in 10 game segments and I am sure we will see significant improvements. The pre-season and first 10 games were really just evaluation games for Chia and McLellan. The next ten games we will see improvements, and the 10 after that, even more. This team isn’t that far off…but some patience is still required – I am sure fixing the D is prioriy #1 now on Chia’s list and he won’t stop until he is satisfied.

    Also, this team misses Eberle more than people might think…if we put Nuge-Eberle-Hall back together, and have McDavid-Yakupov-Pouliot going, this team will have 2 excellent scoring lines.