The first trade of deadline day in the NHL saw the Montreal Canadiens make a much-needed addition on the back-end. The Edmonton Oilers traded right-handed shooting defenceman Jeff Petry to the Habs for a second round pick in 2015 and a conditional fifth round pick in 2015. That fifth round pick turns into a third round pick should the Canadiens reach the Eastern Conference Final this year.
Sometimes there are players who are dubbed “fancy stat darlings,” whether fairly or unfairly, by the internet hockey community. These are guys who do not necessarily generate a lot of box stats like goals and assists, but whose real value lies in the underlying stats. That typically means posting good puck possession numbers.
Over the last two seasons for the Oilers, Petry has been a positive possession player relative to the team. So while he is just a 47.7-percent CorsiFor percentage player since the start of last year, he’s above average on the Oilers. While that in and of itself isn’t impressive, it’s the fact that he played top pairing competition for them last year, and first/second pairing competition this year that makes it more impressive. That means Petry isn’t a player that is excelling in soft matchups on a bad team. Rather, Petry is doing well possession-wise in hard matchups on a bad team. That is what makes him appealing to Montreal, considering the team is just above Edmonton, and in the bottom-third of the league, in puck possession.
Petry is a right-handed shooting defenceman, something Montreal sorely lacked. After P.K. Subban, there is Tom Gilbert and not much else for right-handed shooting defencemen on the team. Petry should fill that role nicely, and will have a bit less stress on him playing behind Subban.
Montreal also added some more depth to their forward group getting Brian Flynn from the Buffalo Sabres for a conditional fifth round pick in 2016.
Flynn hasn’t produced huge over the last few years, but granted, those are years spent when the Sabres are a bad team. What he does for the Montreal Canadiens is fill an apparent need on right wing. Montreal has Brendan Gallagher, but after that it gets scarce quick. There’s the newly-acquired, yet unproven Devante Smith-Pelly, a player just returning from injury in P.A. Parenteau, and Dale Weise.
Flynn is a player that won’t be brought in to make a huge impact on the Canadiens. He’s being brought in to give them depth in their bottom-six wing positions besides Dale Weise and Devante Smith-Pelly.
Montreal went out and plugged some holes with recent trades. Smith-Pelly and Flynn have added depth to their right wings, while Petry looks to be able to slot in Montreal’s second right defence position. These are the types of moves that are being made with the intention of a deep playoff run. It’ll be a few months before fans really find out if these additions will have any impact on the team’s successs.
Some stats courtesy of Hockey Analysis, War On Ice, and HockeyDB.