Steve Yzerman has continued to add to the Red Wings’ roster this offseason.
In a surprising turn of events, Detroit has acquired defenseman Jeff Petry from the Montreal Canadiens just days after he was dealt back to Montreal in the Erik Karlsson trade.
The Canadiens will receive minor league defenseman Gustav Lindström and a 2025 conditional fourth round pick, while retaining an additional 50% of Petry’s salary, bringing his cap hit down to just $2.34 million. Also reported in the trade is that the later of Detroit’s or the Boston Bruins’ 2025 4th round picks will be dealt; both are owned by Detroit.
Red Wings Land Another Offensive Defenseman
This move was expected, though there was the anticipation that Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes would wait longer to make the deal. Sportsnet’s Eric Engels previously reported that Montreal would wait until closer to training camp or the start of the regular season to trade Petry again after the Karlsson trade went through.
Petry, a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, who played college hockey at Michigan State, had a decent year in his only season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, but not at the level of his $6.25 million cap hit. He finished the year with five goals, 26 assists, and 31 points in 61 games, along with a +2 rating, a slight bounce-back from what he had in 2021-22 with Montreal. Once again, he logged heavy minutes, averaging 22:21 per game.
He will turn 36 this December and has two years left on his contract, and there is no doubt that he is an upgrade over Lindström, who was slated to be the team’s 7th defenseman.
Petry Gives Red Wings an Upgrade Defensively
Some will question this move on Yzerman’s part, as it gives the Red Wings a trio of NHL defensemen this offseason with him, Justin Hull and Shayne Gostisbehere, blocking a roster spot on the lineup for 2021 6th overall pick Simon Edvinsson. However, Edvinsson is not ready to start the season with Detroit after he had shoulder surgery in May, so him starting the season with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins is not the worst idea in the world.
But it’s important to remember that Detroit’s defense last season was rather shallow depth-wise outside of the top pairing of Moritz Seider and Jake Walman. Petry isn’t a shutdown defender at his age, but he isn’t a liability, and he should help improve the team’s possession metrics on the bottom two pairings.
Petry can also challenge Holl for the second pairing right-shot defenseman spot behind Seider, or they can choose to bench Ben Chiarot after the former Winnipeg Jet, Canadien, and Florida Panther had a disastrous first season with Detroit, and his four-year, $19 million contract with trade protection is quickly looking like an albatross contract.
In the end, it’s hard to argue what he will bring to the team with what the Red Wings will be paying him. Not only is he bringing in more offense and much-needed defensive depth to a team that needs it, but also brings valuable playoff experience, as he previously has been to the Stanley Cup Final with the Canadiens two years ago.