With Jeff Petry’s status as a pending unrestricted free agent and the looming trade deadline, the Oilers began making inquiries with other clubs weeks ago, while keeping dialogue open for a contract.
In the end, the eve of the deadline came and Petry was destined to be moved. Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish broke down the trade that eventually sent Petry to Montreal, in exchange for a second and a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.
“As well as Jeff played all year, we can’t lose sight of the big picture here, we can’t lose sight of the fact that we’re the 29th team in the league and we have to handle our assets appropriately,” MacTavish said.
MacTavish said the Oilers, “talked to a lot of teams over the last number of weeks.”
When the Carolina Hurricanes sent defenceman Andrej Sekera to Los Angeles — in exchange for Roland McKeown and a conditional first-round pick — on February 25, the landscape changed.
“I was optimistic one day and a little more pessimistic the next day, then it looked like the price was climbing when Sekera went to LA,” MacTavish said.
But soon MacTavish realized that maybe Petry wasn’t the top priority for the bidding clubs.
“I felt that Jeff was of interest to a lot of teams but he wasn’t necessarily most teams’ primary interest,” the general manager said.
Originally, the plan was to come away with a prospect in the return package for Petry. Unfortunately, the Oilers couldn’t get the right deal done, although at one point there were talks with a team other than Montreal.
“I said all along my emphasis on this deal was a prospect, and there wasn’t that level of interest back,” MacTavish said. “If I was making the deal with media I might have gotten more, but unfortunately I wasn’t. The market really is what the market is and there’s nobody that’s lazy enough not to make the calls and try to gauge what that market is. Then going into the last day, there’s a considerable risk. There’s a downside risk, as well as an upside risk. We were chasing a deal that made a little bit more sense to me into the later hours last night and it didn’t materialize. So I was circling back to Montreal who really throughout this showed the greatest level of interest and then that was going a little sideways and then later on in the evening we were able to come to an agreement. But I really wasn’t comfortable going into today with a chance that we’ve got the last guy standing and there’s no chairs at the table anymore so there was some downside risk to prolonging this.”
The Oilers didn’t prolong things, announcing the deal with Montreal around 7:00 a.m. MST this morning. It’s a deal that now has them with six picks in the first three rounds of the draft.
MacTavish says they’ll be in a position to draft some exciting players in a, “extremely” deep draft, as well as make moves to fill some of their, “obvious holes going forward.”