MONTREAL – We have to thank Craig McDowish. Many executives compromise in discussing what they consider to be one of their biggest mistakes, but he has no qualms about reviewing his 2015 move to send Jeff Petrie from the Edmonton Oilers to the Montreal Canadians.
McTavish was given a second and conditional fifth round pick by Petrie, who was 27 years old and an unrestricted free agent at the time. Prior to this, he made a half-hearted attempt to re-sign. And, with the benefit of hindsight, he told us in April, he did things differently.
“It was a significant mistake for me not to sign him a long-term contract at the end of the day,” McTavish said by telephone from his home in Lausanne, Switzerland. “He’s a great man, a great character, a hard worker and he’s played great. He’s been a top-four defenseman all day at this level and a little more than that and it’s not that he has not lost the ownership of the progress he is making in his game. We have lost our best defenseman. We know and the same thing happened. There were a lot of questions around it, but, for me, I’ll give him all the credit in the world. He became the dominant player at the end of the season that year. I’m sorry not to sign him.
It doesn’t have to live with Mark Bergewin.
The Canadians’ GM announced Friday that Petrie has signed on for a four-year, $ 25 million extension running from 2021-25. After seeing Petrie make an immediate impact on his blueprint in 2015, after seeing him consistently produce for the first five years of a six-year, $ 33 million contract, he inevitably escaped making the huge mistake of worrying. Years.
And Canadians are good at it. Talented players are coming right to their blue line, but no one can reasonably fill the Petrie character in a short order. He is a six-foot-three, 201-pound running defenseman, eighth among his teammates in power-play goals, ninth in hits, 22nd shots on the net and 25th in icetime for the last three seasons combined. He is a 1B defenseman in Montreal and a good No. 1 in most markets and in the early stages of this deal he is unlikely to go from Prince to frog.
Petrie wanted to be good enough to skip a fantastic opportunity in free agency, another reason why Bergevin should not miss him at the end of next season.
“From Day 1, when I got here, it was a special place,” Petrie said Friday afternoon. “And wearing that uniform with so much history is a privilege, and so far in my four and a half years I have learned. You know how proud I am to wear that uniform every day.”
Although his production and sustainability laid the foundation to ask for so much, just accepting an annual increase of 50,000 to 750,000 per season is enough.
Not that Petrie didn’t get big on herself. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, he secured four years of security and a complete no-movement clause with a 15-team no-trade list, with the NHL’s salary cap set at upper-limit for the next two seasons .5 81.5 million. If fans could never attend, he was able to lock himself in, if possible, otherwise potentially the league-wide earnings would be adversely affected.
The opportunity presented itself and Petrie flew over it.
“No one knows what this coming season is going to bring and it will have an impact on all decisions and guys’ careers. So I’m sure this decision had some impact,” said the Michigan native. I know, there is a very strong possibility that I am coming back. I have enjoyed my time in Montreal so far, and the company is not great for me. So when this opportunity came, I could not cross it. ”
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Petrie would have had a break if the NHL and NHLPA had not gifted Canadians the chance to play in the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs, but what he saw from his teammates over the 10 games he spent in the Toronto Bubble made the right decision.
“We have a lot of good young players, and they (like Jesperi Kotkani) KK and (Nick) Suzuki showed up at the playoffs, which is a big win for the team,” Petrie said. “With the arrival of those guys, it shows that the future here is bright and that it was one of the deciding factors in finally signing this extension.”
There are still many to consider – from his family’s attachment to the city and their standard of living in Quebec, his three sons will attend for the next fall and the future.
With 2021 free agents – key players like Brendan Gallagher and Philip Donald have been able to put terms on new contracts and want some assurances that Canadians can stay in the fold for years to come, Petrie said.
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But nothing caught on after that process was removed.
“My agent called two and a half weeks ago … and ‘Berge wants to have a conversation with you about re-signing or signing the extension, and will you be open to it?’ I told my agent, ‘I’m ready for a conversation, then we can go from there.’ ‘They are great for everything that’s happening in this world today. It’s not just this year, it has long-term effects. ”
Bergevin took the risk in that regard, but, in our opinion, the possibility of allowing Petrie to play the string of his current contract would be dangerous. We do not expect this to diminish as Montreal GM worries over time.