The Penguins pursuit of Erik Karlsson continues deep into the summer. One way or another, if they are going to acquire EK65 it means Jeff Petry’s time as a Penguin comes to an end. Both the lineup card and salary cap agree that Petry has to go for Karlsson to be brought in. With that in mind what are some possible destinations for the outgoing defender?
Petry has a 15 team no trade list. I won’t claim to know what teams are on it - but we can make some reasonable guesses.
Even though the currency disparity has shrunk the fact remains Canada’s higher taxes turn some players off from playing there. Petry could leave some of these teams off his formal list as they don’t have the Cap space (EDM, TOR, VAN) or desire to reacquire him (MTL). Whether it’s implicit or explicit it’s unlikely Petry plays for a Canadian team next season.
No Cap Space
The Pens are looking to dump salary. So teams with less than $3m in Cap space aren’t a good trade partner. As of today that list is:
- Tampa Bay
- Los Angeles
- New York Islanders
- St. Louis
- New York Rangers
That’s a large portion of the league by itself. You can see how even a small No Trade Clause can be utilized to block the few potential trades out there. But let’s keep going as there are a few more teams to eliminate.
These teams just don’t have a spot for Petry on their roster for whatever reason.
- Columbus (Severson, Boqvist, Gudbransson)
- New Jersey (Hamilton, Marino, Miller, Nemec)
- Boston (McAvoy, Carlo, Shattenkirk)
- Buffalo (Power, Samuelson plus 3 more RHD)
- Nashville (Barrie, Schenn, Carrier, Fabro)
- Seattle (Larsson, Schultz, Fleury, Borgen)
I’m not saying these players are all better than Petry. Some are, some aren’t. But these rosters demonstrate a plan of some sort - and that plan doesn’t include a new player making $6.25m AAV.
Let’s face it nobody is going to risk getting traded there if they can help it. It’s a shame they get their own section but it is what it is.
At this point we’ve eliminated 26 of the 32 teams in the league. Whether by trade protection, lack of fit, or the salary cap getting in the way we’re down to a handful of options. Let’s go through them and see where Petry could possibly go.
The most straightforward option. A swap of Petry for Karlsson with whatever other contracts and salary retention to make it work. Petry would immediately take Karlsson’s place as the #1 D and PP QB. If it was this easy though this trade would’ve happened on July 1st.
Michigan is Petry’s home state. The Wings tend to collect Michigan guys too. Even after trading for Alex DeBrincat and signing him to an extension Detroit has $8m in Cap Space to use. They need one or two more forwards but that won’t consume too much of their stockpile. And with a right side that currently features Moritz Seider, Justin Holl, and a bunch of question marks, there’s a spot on the roster for Petry. This deal makes sense for both parties - if Stevie Y thinks it’s time to push for a playoff spot in the very competitive Atlantic.
The rebuilding Blackhawks aren’t far from Michigan so there’s some home town appeal. They have $14m in Cap Space so they can certainly afford to bring him on. There are two hurdles to clear though. One Petry may not want to go to a rebuilding team. If I was selling him on the idea though I’d point out that Chicago badly needs a PP QB. He’d get to man that squad with Connor Bedard and Taylor Hall. And that should be Chicago’s pitch to UFAs too - get big minutes and boost your counting stats with Bedard and Hall. We’re not focused on defense or winning so cheat for offense and try to land a big contract soon. We’ll even trade you to a contender if a deal comes along. The second hurdle is Chicago’s depth chart. Seth Jones, Connor Murphy, and Nikita Zaitsev all make at least $4m AAV. One of them has to go if Petry is coming in. Would the Hawks be willing to eat 50% of Zaitsev (maybe) or Murphy (unlikely with 3 years left) to get Petry? And what would that cost the Penguins in return? There is a deal here if all parties are interested and willing to make it work.
You can almost copy everything about the Blackhawks and paste it into this section about the Ducks. Rebuilding team, tons of Cap Space ($29m with Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry looking for big deals), and at least last year they were a "defense is optional" group. They look to be moving on from that culture though as they fired their coach and brought in professional stopper Radko Gudas. Could Petry combine with Gudas and Jamie Drysdale to complete the Ducks’ right side? They only have five defensemen on their roster currently. Pair Petry with Cam Fowler until Drysdale is truly ready for prime time or put him on the second pair and have decent depth for the first time in a while. These frequent trade partners could team up again in a Petry deal.
Just hear me out before you laugh this off. Yes these state rivals don’t trade with each other. But look at what’s going on in Philly with new GM Danny Briere. The Flyers are moving on from Chuck Fletcher’s mistakes and that includes buying out Tony DeAngelo. With over $9m in Cap Space still available Petry would be a big upgrade defensively while providing most of what DeAngelo did on the PP. That would let Cam York slowly grow into the role of PP1 QB and keep Rasmus Ristolainen from playing top pair minutes. There’s a place on this roster for Petry if he’s willing to play for John Tortorella and these two rivals put aside their differences to make a deal.
The Wild are in Cap Hell and it’s going to cost them Matt Dumba. Petry could be an ideal replacement. Minnesota has $7m in Cap Space. The problem is they only have 17 players signed. After they bridge former Penguins prospect Calen Addison there’s still room for another RHD like Petry. But I doubt they’re in a position to add even half of Petry’s contract. Crazier things have happened but of the remaining teams this seems like the least likely option.
So there you have it. Six teams that I think could be involved in a Jeff Petry deal. Do you have any other ideas for moving on from Petry? Have I overlooked something with these six teams? Let me know in the comments. If Drew O’Conner’s arbitration on August 4th comes and goes with no Karlsson deal I think that trade is dead. But until then let’s spend some of the off-season speculating.
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