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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

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

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

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.


  • camdog

    I could dwell on the fact that Petry was a legit number 2 or 3 on any team in the NHL, and MacT made a mockery of himself by failing to see the assess he had. However what is the point.

    Good for Petry. Bad for fans who could not see his abilities, who could not see past the occasional bad play, to see the great ability he had to skate the puck up and make a pass. This is the hardest skill skill to find, and what eliminates the high end talent on this team from taking off. We had one defender who was consistant last year and that was Petry. Petry had the speed to pick up the puck skate it up and make a pass. In reality now we need two Petry’s.

    The dealing of Petry set us back at least a year.

  • Danglishish

    All this talk about moving on is insane.
    That is equivalent to saying there is no accountability.
    The Petry case is simply another reason why MacTavish should be simply dismissed from the Oilers before the morning is over.
    This was an error so stupid that no one could possibly rationalize MacTavish’s position in respect of it.
    He and whatever passed for a brain trust within the Oilers at the time had an irrational contempt for Petry because he was the one defensive asset that had evolved out of the period that MacTavish was away from the team.
    Petry was undervalued because the MacTavish obsession was to believe that Nikitin, Ference and Schultz were more than reasonable defensemen. None of which is true.
    It is just a blunder that one can only be sick over it.

    So, stop saying move on, demand accountability.
    Until an organization does that it cannot move forward.

    • Gordie Wayne

      MacT is not in charge anymore – he was demoted from the GM position…remember?

      Think of it this way verdad…you are the owner of a multi-million dollar used car dealership, and you had one of your best friends as manager of the company.

      The company is making money hand over fist, selling a ton of cars, but your best buddy kept screwing things up:

      – Showing up to work late

      – Spending all his time on the phone but never accomplishing anything

      – Over-promising to customers but always under delivering

      – Telling people that the Ford Focus would be named luxury car of the year

      – Giving away a perfectly good Corvette on a trade in of a set of used winter tires that may or may not be usable many years from now

      But this guy is one of your best friends, and he hooked you up with hot women multiple times in college. You can’t just fire him, so you keep him on the payroll, give him a title that sounds cool, and stick him in a corner somewhere.

  • Danglishish

    To say MacT owns the record as the worst GM in the history of the NHL is an understatement. It defies logic he remains employed by the Oil. You don’t need much of an imagination to know why.

  • lav

    Isn’t it obvious by now that MacT was the ‘fall guy’ in the tank to get McDavid? How else can you explain his blatantly obvious ‘blunders’? I don’t think MacT is a hockey genius by any means but I do think his hockey IQ is better than that.

    1. Signing Petry to one year deal to ‘test’ his worth. This move all but ensured their number one Dman would be gone by the trade deadline.
    2. Not addressing the obvious holes at Center at the beginning of the season.
    3. Trading Perron mid-season who was one of their top scoring wingers the season prior.

    MacT did his job well. This is why he got his photo taken next to Mcdavid at the draft. I don’t think MacT expected to get fired though.

  • Soiled Trousers

    MacT’s Daily Routine:

    Step 1 – Get a bag full of paint thinner

    Step 2 – Fart into bag

    Step 3 – Huff farts and paint thinner until you can’t stand

    Step 4 – Sit back and admire the dynasty you have built

  • Reg Dunlop

    Petry was our best bet on defence but he has limitations restricting him to 2nd pairing duty. This is just a diversion from the real issue of the past 8 years, the lack of a top pairing. That is all that matters, until it is addressed we spin our wheels.

  • pkam

    I remember at the end of 2013-14 when Petry’s contract was up for renewal, the majority of fans here thought Petry was a #4/5D and worth only 3.0-3.5M. There were some who thought Petry is a #5-7 or career AHLer. I still remember some thought we would be lucky to get a 4th rounder for Petry in a trade.

    I still remember majority of fans here didn’t want to sign Petry to long contract, some even suggested to let him go UFA.

    Fast forward 1 season and 10 games, now the majority of fans here are trashing MacT for signing that one year deal.

    If MacT signed Petry to a long term contract, I believe Petry will still be asked to play over his head as a 1st paring D and make glaring mistakes as a result, and he will still be our goat. And fans here will be bashing MacT for signing him to the stupid long term deal and added another boat anchor.

  • Kr55

    Just stupid, STUPID risk management from Mac T:

    Best case scenario – sign a player for long term, at good value – if he meets your expectations you have a top pairing guy signed to a long term deal with a number starting in the 4’s. NOTE:*You should have a good idea about who a player is after he is developed in your system for 7 or so seasons. You should either know what he is, or be fired for not knowing. Result: Massive asset for the team in cost and player

    Not great case – Sign a player long term for average dollars and he doesn’t meet his true potential (Petry prior to the 1 year deal wasn’t going to command anywhere near top dollar. 4.25 AVE/yr probably got it done on a long term deal). Even as he was, prior to the 1 year deal, I believe the numbers showed he was our best Dman and probably was no worse than a #4 on a good team. $4.25 for a second pairing guy is not a terrible overpay. Result: Asset for the team (Top 4 guy), roughly market price for a #4, no real harm.

    Worst case scenario – Challenge a guy to play better, he does that, and now he’s a UFA, playing top minutes, IS WITHOUT QUESTION your top D, the PLAYER has ALL the leverage in negotiations. You will no longer be able to sign him to value contract and you’ll either A) Not be able to sign him, B)HAVE TO ACTUALLY PAY THE MAN – see OVERPAY C)Trade him for very little. Result: Massive blow to the team.

    MacT cost this team dearly. I still don’t understanding his rationale or logic. If you want to challenge a guy, DO IT. A coach can do that any day of the week. Fellow teammates in the dressing room can and should do that on a nightly basis and should be a regular expectation. But making that challenge once, in a contract year, and risk what’s discussed above is just insane. Mind blowing stuff really.

  • TKB2677

    While I agree that losing Petry wasn’t the greatest given the state of their defense. On the other hand, what had Petry done to deserve a long term deal even at the start of last season?

    All the stats guys that think Petry walks on water argue about the advanced stats, say he was the best Oilers dman, etc, etc. At the start of last season he was coming off 80 games, 17pts, -22. While he was with the Oilers last year, in 59 games he had 15 pts, -25. You can argue that he was the best Dman on a brutal defense. OK, sure but his numbers were really bad. I’m not sticking up for Mac T because I think he made A LOT of mistakes and the handling of Petry was one of them. But if you take off the Petry loving glasses for a moment and look at the hard numbers, what about Petry and his numbers screamed “Lock this guy up”. Every time I heard a stats guy talk about Petry, all they could say was underlying numbers and use lots of “if’s and maybes.

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    The situation at the time was petry needed to prove himself, and nikitin was handed a 9 million dollar contract… This just baffles me. I seriously think that a trained monkey could have done better than the gruesome twosome last year.

  • lav

    I tried challenging my ex girlfriend on a similar short term deal to evaluate long term potential and it went about as well as the Petry deal. She now lives in Montreal with a spin class instructor named Claude. I wonder if Mact wakes up in the middle of the night crying the name of his past failures as well. *sigh*

  • Risto's Canon

    Petry sometimes/often looked above average within last year’s Oiler D ranks. That ranks him squarely as a decent 2nd or 3rd line nhl defenceman. Would have been better to keep him but his absence is not something anyone should be gnashing their teeth over.

  • Anyone see Derek Dorsett undress Petry in Vancouver? Derek Dorsett…. world class dangler.

    Its a very current sample from the player in question…. last game in fact. Not that it would ad any value to the article as living in the past in a much more Oil fan thing to do.

  • Petry for all that he does well, had plenty of warts. He was often not physical enough, especially in front of his own net. He would make giveaway passes that would turn into goals against. He often got out-muscled and beat by bigger opponents.

    Petry is now playing in the Eastern Conference, a much weaker conference physically, He is also playing a more sheltered role with the Habs, with the likes of Subban/Markov doing the heavy lifting. Oh and theres this guy named Price who plays goal for the Canadiens and he’s alright too.

    Don’t cry over the loss of Petry, even Tom Gilbert looks ok over there in an easier conference with superb goaltending. My point is anyone would look better in the east ( Fayne ) especially with Carey Price in net and not Scrivens/Fasth.

  • pkam

    I was completely against moving Petry at the deadline, however without him the team assuredly lost more games than if they had kept him, so in my mind this move correlates pretty closely with the lottery win.

    So while it would be nice to still have Petry… we won the lottery and got McDavid. In hindsight I am 100% on board with this decision lol

  • This is exactly the reason why we are a bottom dwelling team for so long.

    1) we had poor asset management by the Management Team

    2) Our pro scouting has been horrible for the past 10 years.

    3) We routinely miss drafted defensemen during the drafts

    And now we are left wondering why we have a mess. Remember the Glen Sather days we didn’t have top end talent but he found a way to put a competitive team together.

    Every team messes up in their asset management but if you have a combination of all three you are going to be a bottom feeding team for a long time

  • The Petry and Sekera contracts are the unfortunate byproduct of teams rewarding mediocrity.

    Neither does anything particularly well aside from skating. Average passing, average shot, average physical ability. Average, average, average. Is it worth 35 friggen million???

    Petry was a top 4 on a crappy team as was sekera. If there was no such thing as Corsi or fenwick, these guys would be in the 3.5-4 million range as they should be. You can’t handcuff yourself putting that kind of money in an average turnover-prone defenceman imo

    We’ve seen Petry for 300 games. He’s been with montreal for 30, and were already seeing him get burned on highlight packages (eichel , Dorsett).

    MacT is an idiot, but this is far from his biggest mistake. Petry is gone and I’m fine with it.

    • Petry was a top 4 on a crappy team

      Now he’s #3 on a really good team. What’s your point?

      We’ve seen Petry for 300 games. He’s been with montreal for 30, and were already seeing him get burned on highlight packages (eichel , Dorsett).

      Every defenseman to ever play in the NHL has been burned. It’s ridiculous to claim a guy playing 22 minutes a night on a 9-1 team is bad because one time a player like Dorsett got around him.

      • For Pete's Sake!

        Is “minute eating”, struggling to get 20 points, and being a defensive liability worth $5.5 million a year??

        Sorry but to me it’s not. He’s just not very good is the thing. Neither is Sekera.

        But I’m sure to you he’s the key piece in leading Montreal to a cup, right? Hahaha.

        • If you want to argue that you think he’s worth less than 5.5 I have time to listen, but that’s not what you said is it? You said he was only top 4 on a bad team. That statement is patently false.

          Obviously Montreal doesn’t consider him a “defensive liability”, and nothing in his career to date suggests it either.

          Oiler fans are funny. No defenseman is worth a nickel unless they either put up 50 points or make thunderous board shaking hits while giving up chance after chance.

          I believe what I said is that he is their number 3 defenseman. If you believe that position on the depth chart is the key I suppose that’s up to you.

          • First of all how is that false? We were a bad team, and that’s a fact.

            Second of all, if you don’t think Petry is a defensive liability I really don’t know what to say. Maybe we see the game differently and I respect that. But damn -47 in his last two years here says a lot. Even on those crappy teams (but that’s false, right ;))

          • It’s false that he was only top because he was on a bad team. reading is fundamental. Notice my use of the word “only”?

            All -47 tells us is that he was on a bad team. He’s plus 5 right now after 10 games on a good team.

  • For Pete's Sake!

    I’ve never understood all this hand wringing over Petry. I always thought he was an okay 2nd pairing Dman forced to play a top pairing role.

    Not great and not bad either.

    He’s certainly not worth 5.5 million per year. I’m glad the Habs are overpaying him instead of us.

    Anyway, he’s gone. Get over it already!

  • Let’s put this into perspective …. Montreal didn’t think they were signing a top pairing guy. They knew what they got, was a 2nd pairing d-man who would play behind Suban @ half of Subans salary. Montreal could sleep on that.

    Oilers imagined Petry as a top pairing guy, which he is not and never will be.Also Petry can play his game in Mtl., because he has a gritty partner in Emelin.

    I know there was a time when Petry played with Smid in Edm.,but honestly Smids hockey IQ was closer to the zero scale.

    • Absurd. If the Oilers imagined Petry as a better player than Montreal imagined him they would have wanted a long term deal.

      First people argue that he sucks because he was only top 4 on a bad team and now the argument is that he’s top 4 on a good team because he’s better now with a better partner. No kidding.

      The problem is that people can’t have it both ways. Was he good on a bad team but wouldn’t be good on a good team or is he good now only because he’s on a good team so he’d be bad on the Oilers? Neither makes sense, but at least pick one.

  • A-Mc

    jeff petry’s standard of defence for the chances in the area were 53% of goals are scored. 12.72 HSCA/60

    this and last year:

    Reinhart 15-16 8.95

    Klefbom 15-16 10.40

    Fayne 15-16 10.73

    Sekera 15-16 11.25

    Nikitin 14-15 11.55

    Petry 14-15 11.74

    Schultz 15-16 12.02

    Gryba 15-16 15.17

    Ference 15-16 18.65

    having looked at EC to WC movement D men experience an in crease of aprox 4.00 HSCA/60

    Petry MTL 15-16 7.68 + 4.00 = 11.68

    He is no diffrent than he was with us. thse numbers get yo sent to minors. see Nikitin 11.55 or not signed.

    I hear No petry. Blame MacT.

    Thank you MacT!

  • I’ll tell ya what SimpleT offered Petry after he rejected Petry’s overture of 3.5×3…

    he offered him 3.1×2…

    Juxtapose Columbus Blue Jacket Scratch’s offer of 4.5×2…

    shocking really…

    Eakins had his hand on this too…

    • Anton CP

      MACT had a agreement in place for Talbot with Sather. Sather stated that. That is why the Talbot trade was completed with PC.

      Talbot for Mtl 2nd RD (petry trade-MacT) + Ott 3rd RD (hemsky trade – MacT) + EDM 7th RD

      Caleb jones was selected with Mtl 4th rd (petry Trade)



      Why out and out lie! To make yuourself look good.

      I am not a fan of you OPINION!

      Opinion: point of view not based on fact or knowledge.