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Jeff Petry: his (second) stay in Montreal should be short-lived
Credit: Petry has had more difficulties since the absence of Ben Chiarot.
I think we were all thinking the same thing earlier today when we learned that Jeff Petry is returning to Montreal in a three-team deal that also sends Erik Karlsson to Pittsburgh.

“Huh? What just happened?”

Yeah. I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming… Because let’s just say it was probably the last scenario on earth we’d expected in town.

Basically, the Habs made a good move. It got rid of Mike Hoffman (!!!) and Rem Pitlick, which frees up space for the congestion of forwards… And the CH has managed to get its hands on some interesting pieces.

But let’s face it. Petry’s case is particularly intriguing.

Will he play in Montreal next season? Will he be traded between now and the start of the campaign? If he does play for the CH, what role will he play?

These are all popular questions right now. And so they should be.

Kent Hughes pulled off a coup by getting the Penguins to withhold 25% of the defenseman’s salary, since Jeff Petry currently accounts for $4,687,500 on the CH payroll.

This means that if the Habs wish to trade him and negotiate with a team offering to withhold 50% of the player’s salary, the team that acquires him will have him at 37.5% of his salary…

And Jeff Petry, at $2,343,750 a year, could become an attractive prospect for any Stanley Cup contender. He may have slowed down, and at 35, he’s not getting any younger. But we’re still talking about a guy who can provide depth on the blue line, and we’re talking about a guy who can help out on the power play.

For Eric Engels, the current plan on the Flanelle side is to try to send him elsewhere. It could happen before the start of the season, it could happen at the next trade deadline…

But it should happen. And the CH, which has already acquired a particularly interesting return in the transaction that brought Petry, Casey DeSmith, Nathan Légaré and a second-round pick to Montreal, could then receive another piece in exchange for Petry.

Kent Hughes is currently giving a masterclass.

Surprisingly, the Habs weren’t on the list of 15 teams they didn’t want to be traded to. Did he figure that the Habs would never trade for his services, and that in the end, his 15-team list technically became a 16-team list?

In the end, it’s true that the pandemic is over and it’s true that he doesn’t have much negotiating power anymore because he had a tough season in Pittsburgh last year, but still.

I really wonder what his wife Julie thinks of the transaction, having decided to leave Quebec to return to Michigan in a context where health measures were less restrictive.

Let’s just say that Jeff Petry is starting the season in Montreal and will be in uniform for the very first game of the campaign, on October 11 in Toronto.

It’s agreed that one of the youngsters will have to make way for him, and since Petry is right-handed, the logical idea would be to see Johnathan Kovacevic or Justin Barron get the nod. I’m inclined to think it’s the latter who could fall victim to Petry’s arrival…

And that’s a shame, because Barron, in my eyes, showed great promise last year after the Habs recalled him. He played with confidence… But it was also difficult at times.

Could a return to the AHL hurt him? I don’t think so. It also puts a lot of pressure on Arber Xhekaj and Jordan Harris, who are exempt from the ballot.

But obviously, it all depends on the direction the CH takes in the coming weeks. We thought Kent Hughes’ summer was over after the signing of Jesse Ylönen…

And now we have to wonder if the Habs’ GM really does feel like taking a little vacation.

Breaking news

– Matt Dumba heads to Arizona.

Whew. Not fancy.

– Hehe.

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