Montreal Canadiens GM Kent Hughes has only been on the job for two weeks but he's already indicated a willingness to move Jeff Petry for the right deal. Whether such a move can be made before the March 21 trade deadline remains to be seen.
Petry, 34, is enduring his worst season with the Canadiens with just six points in 37 games, well below the annual 40-plus point pace of his previous four seasons. The defenseman's family has also returned to the United States because of Quebec's strict COVID measures.
Hughes told La Presse he met with Petry during their recent road trip. He said he told the blueliner he was aware of his personal issues, adding he would trade him if a deal could be found that would work for both sides. Until then, he expected Petry to play his best for the Canadiens.
The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun reports sources indicate Petry would welcome a trade. While he has a 15-team no-trade clause, his camp is open to helping facilitate a deal.
Finding a trade partner for Petry would be difficult enough given his age and the troubling decline in his performance this season. However, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman believes the blueliner would garner interest based on his performance in last year's playoffs.
Petry's contract is the biggest sticking point. Cap Friendly indicates he's signed through 2024-25 with an annual average value of $6.25 million.
Given the flattened NHL salary cap, Hughes will find it challenging to offload Petry's contract without having to retain salary or packaging draft picks, prospects or promising players like Cole Caufield or Alexander Romanov as sweeteners into the deal.