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Jeff Petry: for such a return, would the CH have been better off keeping him?
Credit: Petry has had more difficulties since the absence of Ben Chiarot.

Earlier this afternoon, the Habs announced that Jeff Petry had been traded to the Detroit Red Wings, with 37.5% of his salary remaining in the city. In return, the club acquired Gustav Lindström and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2025.

What we notice is that the CH has roughly acquired a young seventh defenseman (or, at the very least, a third-pair guy with some potential) and a fairly ordinary pick. We suspected that Petry wasn’t going to get the biggest value, but it’s still a pretty low return, especially when you consider the two-year salary holdback.

It’s not the amount withheld that bothers me, far from it. Rather, it’s the fact that between now and July 2025, Petry will take one of the three salary retention slots, and that’s what potentially handcuffs the Habs (especially with Joel Edmundson taking another one this year).

And when I consider all this, I ask myself the following question: hockey-wise, wouldn’t the CH have been better off keeping him?

When you listen to Kent Hughes, you really understand that the transaction was motivated by the human aspect rather than the field hockey aspect. The GM confirmed it himself: despite going for the best return at all costs (without being counter-productive for the organization), he wanted to trade him quickly so as not to leave him in limbo for too long.

And in fact, that’s a pretty noble reason. It makes the Habs look good in the eyes of the players, no doubt.

On the other hand, hockey-wise, the Habs didn’t improve today. For the next two years, Petry’s cap hit will be $2,343,750 on the payroll, and this year, Lindström will have a cap hit of $950,000 before being RFA (with arbitration rights) next summer.

If we look at this year, then, the Tricolore will pay $3,293,750 to, in effect, have a seventh defenseman on its roster.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have Petry, a top-4 defenseman, for $4,687,500.

That’s basically $1.4 million difference for a lesser defenseman and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2025. I know it’s not as simple as that, and it’s true that the Habs saved some money, but was it reallyworth it?

I totally understand the transaction on a human level, and it’s honorable of Kent Hughes to have accepted a lesser return to accommodate Petry. On the other hand, if Petry didn’t want to play in Montreal, all he had to do was put the club on his list of 15 (!) teams.

I’m willing to believe he wanted to be accommodated, but he was asking for trouble.

All’s well that ends well for Petry, then, and once again, the transaction is interesting for the CH on a human level. On the other hand, no one is going to make me believe that the CH is a better team tonight than it was yesterday.

Therein lies the nuance.

In a gust

– I couldn’t have said it better myself.

– Great read on the young Slovak.

– Boston College has made it official that Jacob Fowler will join their program next year. It was unofficial, and now it’s official.

– Impressive.

– News from Joel Farabee.

– Ah well.

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