• Le Bo

FOUR MORE YEARS: Jeff Petry signs 4-year, $6.25 million extension with the Montreal Canadiens

Okay, so it’s technically five more years because the extension doesn’t kick in until next summer.

Nonetheless, Jeff Petry has been a 1B/number two defenseman on the Canadiens since he came from the Edmonton Oilers in 2015 (a steal by Bergevin, by the way). He has put up three straight 40-point seasons, and has filled in admirably as the number-one defenseman when Shea Weber was injured. This past season he had 11 goals and 40 points in 71 games, which, pro-rated, puts him at 46 points over a full season. Petry was not always the best defensively, but he has improved drastically in that category recently and is playing by far the best hockey of his career.

This contract pays him $6.25 million from 2021-2022 to 2024-2025. This will pay Petry until he’s 37. This looks a little risky, but defensemen of Petry’s style don’t decline all that quickly. If you look at a guy like Mark Giordano (who plays like Petry, only better), he’s 36 and still rolling. If you ask me, the key reason why the Canadiens extended Petry is that they have nobody at this point to replace him. The next right-shot defenseman on the depth chart is Cale Fleury. He has potential, but he won’t be ready for a top-four role in a year’s time. The Canadiens locked up a core piece of their defense, and it’s just one fewer free agent to worry about in 2021. If I had to choose, I’d say they would extend Brendan Gallagher next.

And now a few news stories you may have missed:

· Max Domi’s new agent, Darren Ferris, has reiterated that Domi wants to stay in Montreal. Domi, an RFA this offseason, has been the subject of trade rumours due to a dip in his production and a demotion to the fourth line during the playoffs. I understand that Domi wants to stay; he loves it in Montreal and the fans love him. But he is best as a centre and there is little room for him there. Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Nick Suzuki are emerging as great players, and Phillip Danault is a defensive stud that still manages 40-50 points per season. The Canadiens might need to trade Domi for his own good, to ensure he reaches his full potential. That said, I love Domi and I hope the Canadiens can find a way to keep him.

· The Canadiens acquired the rights to, and signed, defenseman Joel Edmundson. The contract is $3.5 million for through 2023-24. I think that Edmundson, a big, hard-hitting defenseman who can skate, would look good next to Petry on the second pairing. The 27-year-old doesn’t put up a lot of points, but has an underrated shot. With this acquisition, the left side of defence is not ideal, but it is now doable. There is currently a logjam for a spot on the bottom pairing and Victor Mete or Brett Kulak could be traded, especially if Bergevin wants to further improve the left side by signing a UFA. This is an interesting story that will be watched closely.

· The Canadiens acquired goalie Jake Allen from the St. Louis Blues. Allen is paid $4.35 million for another season and is a great backup to Carey Price. He looked good in relief for Jordan Binnington in these playoffs, posting a .935 save percentage in five games. He had a .927 save percentage during the season. Allen is slightly expensive for a backup, but there is only one year left on the deal. This leaves one more thing (maybe two more things) on Bergevin’s offseason shopping list: scoring (and maybe one more defenseman). He has about $10 million in cap space to work with, but keep in mind he still has to re-sign Domi and Mete, and should be careful considering the plethora of UFA’s that must be re-signed next summer. The best option is to trade for a scoring winger. Nikolaj Ehlers might get traded from the Jets, and I think that Bergevin should look into him. It is rumoured that top UFA winger Taylor Hall might join the Canadiens, but that means we say goodbye to a few players next summer.

The NHL draft is on October 6-7, and free agency opens on October 9th.

Salut Marc, peux-tu trader pour un ailier qui peut marquer? C’est un grand besoin. Merci.

Go Habs Go.

Signed, Le Bo

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Le Bo (Boaz Shron) is a 15-year-old Habs Fanatic who lives in Toronto.

Yes, I know I live in Toronto. That does not make me any less of a Habs fan than you are.

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