When a team like the Montreal Canadiens commits to a shake-up, it usually tends to produce some seriously dramatic results. With a new General Manager in the door in the form of Kent Hughes, the last two weeks has been filled with speculation, rumour, and nonsense. However, one rumour that appears to hold more weight than many would have assumed is the future of Jeff Petry. Despite only being in the door for two weeks, it looks like Hughes has committed to making some major franchise-adjusting trades in the coming period of time.
With the deadline not until March 21st, there is ample time for a contending team to come in and make an offer for Petry. The deal will need to be the right offer, of course, but this is a surprise move given how important Petry has been for the Canadiens in the past. However, at 34, the player is currently enjoying his worst season in his time in Montreal, scoring a paltry 6 points in 34 matches. Given his previous four seasons have produced 40-odd points on average, this is a massive drop-off – and one that has Hughes and co. looking at a potential blow-up solution.
It would be a surprise still, though, to see the player move on. That being said, news of the family of Petry returning to the USA due to the strictness of COVID-19 restrictions in Quebec could see an exit arrive sooner rather than later.
Indeed, Hughes himself has admitted that he spoke with Petry during a recent team road trip. The agreement was that they understood the personal challenges being faced, that a trade would be made if both sides could find agreement, and that Petry was expected to give 100% until that happened.
Will a trade take place before the March deadline?
While the team are happy to make the deal and Petry himself would welcome a new change of scenery, things are not always quite so simple in the NHL. There is a no-trade clause for Petry that covers 15 different teams, but Petry, it is believed, would be keen to look to change that if the right offer was to come along for both player and the Canadiens.
The challenge will come from finding a team who is both suitable for Petry and suitable for the Canadiens. At 34 and in his worst season in a long time, it will be hard to find a team that is willing to commit the resourced needed to get this particular deal over the line.
However, with Petry happy to go, it might be easier to find a team happy to take a swing on the veteran. His pervious performance counts for a lot, as does his performance in the playoffs in the previous season. Many veterans tend to coast in the normal season before exploding in the playoff season, and a team might be willing to gamble that Petry can find that form once again.
Still, it all feels like a rather sad end to what was one of the more plutonic relationships in the NHL until this season.