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Future Watch: Jeff Petry

by Kristi Hennessy / Edmonton Oilers
Jeff Petry with Michigan State Spartans

About this time last year, hockey scouts, writers and analysts were bagging on young Oilers prospect Jeff Petry.

By the end of his sophomore year last year with Michigan State University, he only managed to record two goals, 12 assists for 14 points in 38 games however he was named MSU's Outstanding Defensive Player. This was quite the drop off from his freshmen year in 2007-2008 when he tallied three goals and 21 assists for 24 points in 42 games and was named to the Conference All-Freshman team. He was also named USA Hockey’s Junior Player of the Year for 2007. 

Petry attended Oilers development camp after his poor season in July of 2009. He recognized that his play had dropped off and that he had to be much better if he were to have a chance at the NHL level.

“I wouldn’t say I had my best year as an individual but my plans are to go back next year and try to develop more and get stronger and turn it around.” Petry commented at the 2009 development camp.

That is exactly what the 22 year old defencemen from Farmington Hills, Michigan did this year. He went back for his junior year with Michigan State and turned things around.  The Michigan State Spartans just wrapped up their regular season taking second place with 50 points in the CCHA race behind Miami who finished with 70 points. Petry finished with four goals, 22 assists for 26 points with 28 penalty minutes in 36 games.

Q: What is your favourite thing to do in summer?
A: Fishing

Q: Favorite team growing up?
A: Edmonton Oilers

Q: Favourite player?
A: Nick Lidstrom
Petry was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the second round (45th selection overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. He would be described as a smart two-way defenceman who is an excellent skater with good mobility. He is not afraid to go to the front of the net and battle for the puck. He is known for having a solid point shot and tends to favour his wrist shot. Petry has the stick handling and skating skills to skate the puck out of the zone himself or make accurate passes to his line mates. He has great size for a defencemen sitting at 6’3” and 195 pounds.

Most young hockey players grow up with very supportive parents. Petry was even more fortunate. Not only were his parents very supportive of his chosen sport but his father, Dan Petry got a taste of professional sports for himself. Dan was a pitcher for 13 years in Major League Baseball. He was a member of the 1984 championship Detroit Tiger squad, and won 125 career games with Detroit, California, Atlanta and Boston. Jeff says that it is very helpful having a father who understands the pressures of a professional career.

“My Dad knows nothing about baseball so I think that’s why I chose hockey, so that I could make my own name for myself,” said Petry. “If I ever have a problem, I just go to him. He knows what it’s going to take to get to the next level. He’s been there, he can relate. Not to hockey directly but to the work ethic and what it takes.”

Prior to Petry’s University career, he spent two seasons with the Des Moines Buccaneers of the United States Hockey League (USHL), where he is a two-time USHL All-Star, and was the USHL Defenseman of the Year in 2007. He recorded 18 goals and 27 assists (45 points), and 71 penalty minutes in 2006-07.

Petry is expected to make his third appearance at the Oilers development camp this coming summer and will be looking to demonstrate his much improved play in order to land himself a spot on the Oilers roster.

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