Islanders Should be Targeting Habs’ Petry Before the Trade Deadline

The New York Islanders are going to be an active team at the trade deadline this season. Lou Lamoriello and the front office can trade away some veteran skaters for possible valuable returns, but more likely, is going to acquire a talented skater to help the team make a push for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Related: Islanders Weekly: Roster Overhaul Appears Imminent

One of the teams that will look to trade away some of their talented players is the Montreal Canadiens. The Canadiens appeared in the Stanley Cup Final last season but are having a historically bad season and might be facing a retool or rebuild by the trade deadline. One of the players the team will look to trade away is veteran defenseman Jeff Petry, who could put any defensive unit over the top and the Islanders have plenty of reasons to possibly make an offer for the talented defenseman.

Petry has a modified no-trade clause, and it’s possible that one of the 15 teams the veteran defenseman wouldn’t want to would be the Islanders. However, if the Islanders are competing for a Stanley Cup, this season or in the upcoming ones, Petry will likely want to join the team in hopes of hoisting the Stanley Cup.

Two-Way Defenseman

In consecutive off-seasons, the Islanders traded Devon Toews to the Colorado Avalanche and then traded Nick Leddy to the Detroit Red Wings. Both defensemen added a scoring presence from the point and allowed the team to carry the puck into the offensive zone with great control of the puck. This season, in particular, the Islanders’ defensive unit has struggled offensively and is searching for a scoring defenseman.

Nick Leddy New York Islanders
Nick Leddy led the Islanders with 29 assists in the 2020-21 season. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Islanders are one of the many teams that have expressed interest in Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. However, the Coyotes have a high asking price for arguably their best player, and any team that acquires the talented defenseman will have to trade multiple prospects or draft selections as a result. Instead, the Islanders acquiring Petry would allow them to fill the same need while risking fewer assets.

Petry would instantly add a scoring presence to the Islanders roster with a great shot from the blue line. This season has been a rough one for the Canadiens defenseman scoring only one goal, but Petry has scored 10 goals or more and distributed 29 assists or more in each of the last four seasons. In addition, the veteran defenseman remains one of the best defensive skaters in the game and would continue to force turnovers in the neutral zone and defensive zone for the Islanders.

Petry Isn’t a Rental

Many trade targets are pending free agents at the end of the season. However, Petry has four years remaining on his contract after signing an extension in 2020 and will impact the defensive unit for years to come. The Islanders acquiring the veteran defenseman would give the front office plenty of years to work with and allow Petry to establish himself as a pivotal skater in the defensive unit.

Jeff Petry Montreal Canadiens
Jeff Petry, Montreal Canadiens (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Petry’s contract does have its consequences, especially since the star defenseman is earning $6.25 Million per year. Likewise, at 34-years-old, Petry is past the prime of his career and isn’t going to provide the same impact on the defensive end of the ice. However, the Islanders acquiring the talented defenseman would allow the team to have a key contributor in the lineup for multiple seasons who would still turn a good defensive unit into one of the league’s best. Moreover, with both Andy Greene and Zdeno Chara pending free agents, the Islanders can add a veteran defenseman to take on the leadership role.

Islanders Add a Playoff-Proven Defenseman

Last season, the Canadiens had a historical Stanley Cup Playoff run, reaching the Final for the first time since 1993. The Canadiens deep playoff run was fueled by their roster depth and outstanding goaltending from Carey Price but also with great performances at the blue line from defensemen Joel Edmundson, Shea Weber, and Petry.

Jeff Petry Montreal Canadiens
Jeff Petry, Montreal Canadiens (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Petry has been in the NHL for 12 seasons but in recent seasons, has established himself as a defenseman that can step up in the playoffs. For a team that is trying to win the Stanley Cup in the upcoming seasons, acquiring Petry would keep the team competitive and also give them an edge in the playoffs for multiple seasons, especially on the offensive end of the ice as the veteran defenseman would open up the offense against playoff-caliber defenses.

What Would the Islanders Give in Return?

24-year-old forward Anthony Beauvillier would be an intriguing player to trade to the Canadiens as a Quebec native that can be a key part of their rebuild. However, considering Beauvillier’s potential and contribution to the forward unit, it’s likely the Islanders would avoid trading the young forward. Instead, it’s more likely the Islanders would trade a few prospects like Robin Salo or Kieffer Bellows and possibly a future draft selection. Petry is going to be a defenseman that multiple teams will look to acquire and a team aspiring to win the Stanley Cup will hope to make the move ahead of the trade deadline.

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