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Jeff Petry: wait before assuming Kent Hughes will keep half his contract
When the Pittsburgh Penguins traded Jeff Petry to the Montreal Canadiens in the last few days, they decided to keep 25% of his salary. The defenseman normally has an impact under the $6.25M cap for another two years.

This is a great asset for Kent Hughes, who now has Jeff Petry on his payroll for only $4.6875 million… for the time being.

That’s easier to handle in the case of a trade (after all, we suspect Kent Hughes is on the phone to trade his defenseman) for what’s next.

But does this necessarily mean that the Habs will withhold a large portion of the defenseman’s salary? They can withhold up to 50% of the $4.6875 million, or $2.34375 million.

I don’t think that’s in the Habs’ plans.

I was the first to say that by withholding a good portion of Petry’s salary, Hughes would be able to get a good return. But something wasn’t quite right in my mind: the GM, ever since he took over, has always been thinking long-term. And his club isn’t yet good enough to change that mentality.

Why would he give away Mike Hoffman, whose contract is up in a year, to get Jeff Petry, whose deal is still valid for two years, if he’s going to withhold salary for another 23 months on the defenseman’s contract?

The cap could go up by $4.5 million in the summer of 2024. Does Kent Hughes really want to keep half of that amount for Jeff Petry? I don’t think it’s his first choice, no – just as the player’s first choice probably isn’t to be here.

With Karl Alzner and Joel Edmundson leaving the “dead money” portion of the salary cap in a year’s time, it’s going to provide some much-needed lousse for the Habs GM.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that the Habs haven’t traded the defenseman yet because they think they’ll be able to pass on his entire contract. After all, that’s how the CH works, so as not to mortgage the future.

Since his arrival, the GM has only kept money on contracts that are a few months away from expiry. The only exception? Joel Edmundson, who has one year left on his contract.

But two years? That’s a lot of money. Especially for the summer of 2023 and not, say, the spring of 2022.

If Kent Hughes was able to trade 100% of Petry’s contract when he had three years left on his contract, he might be able to pass on 75% of the same contract a year later. It’s easier to do – even if he didn’t play very well last year.

That said, his last year in Montreal wasn’t perfect either…

Am I saying that the CH DG will systematically refuse to keep money on the contract? No. I think it might be possible for him to keep a million dollars or less, for example.

But the GM who wants the Habs to keep 50% of what’s left on the contract had better wake up early and get a very, very interesting offer. And frankly, I don’t believe it, since Hughes is used to being patient in order to maximize the value of his players.

It’s also worth noting that I have a feeling that the team to which he will be traded may give a clue as to his vision. Is trading Petry to Buffalo or Detroit, two division rivals, desirable when we know that the CH will be battling these clubs in 2024-2025?

Your answer is as good as mine, even if everyone agrees thata club as far away as Dallas – if he wants to go there – would be better. After all, trading Petry into the division isn’t like trading Alex DeBrincat into the division, but still: it’s not ideal.

In a row

– Logical.

– Blue Jays defeat.

– Ouch.

– Sometimes it takes a lot.

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