Ottawa Senators UFA Profiles: Jeff Petry


Jeff Petry, Unrestricted Free Agent

Birthplace: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Birthdate: Dec 9, 1987 (28 years old)

Position: Defense

Shoots: Right

Height/Weight: 6’3″, 196 lbs

2014-15 Stats: 78 GP, 7G, 15A (split between EDM and MTL)

Jeff Petry has long been discussed as a potential target for Ottawa, even at the beginning of the season when there were still lots of suitors to trade with the Edmonton Oilers. The problem is, many teams will want his services, and with his solid play in Montreal down the stretch, he will most likely get an even bigger contract.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t be worth it. Petry was the Oilers best defenseman for a few years (which isn’t saying much) and the Canadiens are aware of that as they are trying to lock him up long-term. Even Petry himself says he may want to partner up with the Canadiens.

I would take that with a grain of salt though, because every free agent says they want to come back until they actually don’t. My gut has said all along that he would go somewhere else, because if this is your one chance to cash in, you might just follow the money.

Petry isn’t amazing offensively, but he can still contribute in the offensive zone. He also can make some great passes, and he would help out with breaking the puck out of the zone, which is an area that the Senators struggle in. He is a defenseman that isn’t going to wow you, but he is sound defensively and is always in a good position, and doesn’t make too many mistakes.

Here are his career statistics, which may seem a bit underwhelming, but keep in mind that he played defense for the Oilers which must have been the hardest job.

This season he had the highest defensive zone start percentage amongst defenseman for Montreal, and the lowest offensive zone start percentage. He also had the toughest competition amongst the Canadiens defense, but was still able to make an impact overall. The fact that he had so many defensive zone starts just goes to show how much coaches trust him in their own zone.

I wanted to compare him to some players so I took a look at him vs. Andrei Markov on a “Bombay Chart,” which shows various stats on a circular graph. This interesting tool was made by Sens fan Emmanuel Perry, and works well for comparisons. Here’s the graph:

So of course, Petry doesn’t look as good as Markov, although the only area that he lags behind in is points per 60 and assists per 60. Every other category he is about the same as Markov, which just goes to show how under appreciated Petry is.

Even if you don’t understand some of these stats, it’s easy to see that Petry (blue) isn’t too far behind Markov (green), and he’s above average (dotted line) in most areas.

Does he fit in Ottawa?

Petry is a perfect fit for Ottawa. Ottawa’s top pairing is set with Marc Methot and Erik Karlsson, and I’m fine with keeping that the same. Patrick Wiercioch deserves to be on the left side of the second pairing with his play of late. But after that, there aren’t too many guarantees. I think Cody Ceci should still be a regular, but on the third pairing.

He still needs to develop, but he’s not quite a top-4 caliber just yet. The bottom pairing could feature one other defenseman from a bunch of them, but that leaves a spot open for a right-handed player on the second pairing. Enter Petry. I think having him with Wiercioch would make quite a formidable duo, and all of a sudden Ottawa’s top-4 is very solid.

The only problem is money. The Senators will already be strapped for cash because of their budget, but they also have to worry about the cap. Their RFA’s may get a bit expensive, and they need to dump some “bigger” contracts.

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Considering the free agent crop this year looks even worse than previous years, he will get a good contract. I think he will get four or five years, and anything between $4 million to $5.5 million as a cap hit. He is making just over $3 million this season, so he will be looking for a bit of a raise, but because of his limited offensive capabilities he won’t break the bank like some other top-tier players. He could be expensive, but worth it in my opinion. There has to be a limit of course, but they should still play hard-ball with other teams.

If the Senators have the money, they should definitely go hard after Petry. Maybe he already has it in his mind that he doesn’t want to go to Ottawa, which would be too bad. But I’d be very upset to hear that Bryan Murray didn’t at least try to sign him considering how much he would improve the defense.

If there was just one player Ottawa could sign this off-season, I hope it is Petry. Now go make it happen, Murray.

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