Jeff Petry: A Poor Man Alex Pietrangelo?

Ah hockey fans… they like to think that they know everything there is to know about hockey. At times, when someone doesn’t share their opinion, they will go to great lengths to try laughing and putting down those who dare thinking differently. That’s the social media age folks. So “old souls” like yours truly must live with this new unfortunate reality. No such room for respecting others’ opinions, or so it seems. We witness fewer and fewer cases of “agreeing to disagree”. Everything seems to be a battle of wit, whose father is the strongest, who has (or who is) the bigger prick.

I had multiple examples of that. More recently, in the replies when I posted the trade ideas of what Max Domi could fetch. And in spite of the fact that I based his value on facts and comparison to other centres with similar production the past two years. But laughing at others who put in the effort is so easy. Particularly when the culprits don’t come up with their own value, perhaps in fear of being ridiculed themselves. But I regress. Let’s give those “know-it-alls”, who think they’re so good that they could replace NHL GMs, something else to laugh about, shall we?

Alex Pietrangelo

It seems like the talks have broken down between Alex Pietrangelo and the St. Louis Blues. The Blues’ captain is a pending unrestricted free agent and his agent has been trying to come to an agreement on a new contract which would see his client continue his career in St. Louis.

But what is Pietrangelo worth on the open market, and what is Blues GM Doug Armstrong willing to (or capable of) giving his captain on a new contract? According to CapFriendly, the Blues only have about $5 million of available cap space for next season and they also have to re-sign RFA Vince Dunn. Pietrangelo, who just finished a seven year contract with a cap hit of $6.5 million, is due for a substantial raise.

Forget the Canadiens

For a few Habs’ fans, they love doing what Leafs’ fans do best. They think that every free agent should be signing in Montreal and that, regardless of team needs. Pietrangelo is no exception for both fanbases. While Toronto could really use a guy like him, the Canadiens have very little use for such a player. For one thing, Pietrangelo is a right-handed defenseman and the Habs already have Shea Weber and Jeff Petry eating major minutes on that side.

Some even suggest trading Petry to sign Pietrangelo. That makes no sense and here’s why: the Habs already have a poor man Pietrangelo in their line-up in Petry. WHAT? No, I’m not saying that Petry is as good as Pietrangelo. What I’m saying is that for the difference in price, they are better off riding their own defenseman that overpaying to get the Blues’ captain. You don’t believe me? Have a look at the following:

201 lbsWT210 lbs
18:38EV TOI/GP19:39
2:35PP TOI/GP2:58
2:11SH TOI/GP2:05
($5.5M 2021) $6.25MCAP HIT$8.8M

Yes, Pietrangelo, for the most part, is ahead of Petry and yes, he’s a better overall defenseman. But the difference between the two players isn’t substantial enough to justify switching one of the other. I have no doubt that the former Team Canada defenseman would fit in nicely with the current leadership group in Montreal but not at the price he would come at. Ironically, Pietrangelo wears number 27 and Petry… 26. The Blues defenseman is Captain, the Habs’ player is… assistant-captain. Close, but just a step behind everywhere it seems.

Jake Allen and Joel Edmundson

After addressing the backup goaltending with the acquisition of former Blues Jake Allen and trading for and signing Joel Edmundson, Habs’ GM Marc Bergevin must be focussing on getting a scoring winger (or two). Not replacing the team’s top-2 defensemen. And for what it’s worth, I believe that the broken talks are just a negotiation tactic by both parties and that a deal can still be worked out. Just like the so-called rumours of Phillip Danault being made available are part of negotiations too. Coincidently, both Allen and Edmundson won the Stanley Cup last year with the Blues.

Petry contract extension

Further, TSN’s and The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reported at the last trade deadline that the Canadiens and Petry both want to work on a contract extension. He added that he wouldn’t be surprised if he was extended during this off-season. Petry has loved his stay in Montreal since being acquired at the 2015 trade deadline as a pending UFA. Back then, he chose to stay in Montreal and it seems like he wants to do the same this time around.

The kicker might be what Pietrangelo will be getting on the open market but even that could be affected by a stagnant cap ceiling and the number of contenders with the necessary cap space to sign the Blues’ defenseman. My personal take is that Bergevin is better signing Petry before Pietrangelo hits the market and signs elsewhere. This would ensure that Petry’s agent doesn’t use him as comparison in negotiations. Either way, forget Pietrangelo in Montreal as they already have a poor man version of him playing behind Weber. But do keep an eye on Bergevin as he seems to be swinging for the fence. Go Habs Go!

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