After struggling through most of this season and requesting a trade, Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry's performance has improved in recent weeks. That could bolster his value in this summer's NHL trade market.
Petry, 34, was the subject of considerable speculation prior to the March trade deadline. Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes felt he was close to a deal but it failed to materialize before the deadline.
Hughes indicated he'd try again to peddle Petry during the off-season when teams have more salary-cap space. The blueliner's $6.25-million annual cap hit through 2024-25 was considered a potential impediment.
Montreal Hockey Now's Marco D'Amico observed Petry's on-ice performance improved after Martin St. Louis took over as the Canadiens' interim head coach in February. He's tallied 20 points in his last 29 games while averaging over 21 minutes per game. Before St. Louis took charge, he'd managed just six points in 38 contests.
D'Amico suggested Petry could draw interest this summer from clubs with salary-cap flexibility seeking to build competitive rosters. He also pointed to a shallow pool of comparable talent beyond John Klingberg and Kris Letang in this summer's unrestricted free agent market.
The Dallas Stars and Los Angeles Kings were linked to Petry in this season's rumor mill. Cap Friendly indicates the Stars have $62.7 million invested in 14 active roster players with Klingberg among their notable free agents. The Kings, meanwhile, have $61.2 million committed to 14 players with blueliners Alexander Edler and Olli Maatta eligible for UFA status.
Hughes has indicated he's seeking a deal that is fair for Petry and the Canadiens. Perhaps one of those clubs will make a pitch that meets that criteria.