If Canadiens find trade involving Petry that works, Hughes will pursue it

Canadiens GM Kent Hughes discusses the team's expectations from the players down the stretch, says they're looking for the passion to play despite the circumstances, and also expects them to work on their development, and not throw in the towel.

The rebuilding of the Montreal Canadiens began Monday when Tyler Toffoli was traded. The next steps in the process may follow soon — so as long as the right deal can be found.

Jeff Petry, if we can find a trade that works for us and another team, we’re going to do it,” the team’s general manager Kent Hughes said at a press conference Wednesday. “But it has to work.”

The 34-year-old American has seen his production dip significantly this season after registering double-digit goals and 40-plus points in each of the past four years. Petry played in 20 post-season games during the Canadiens’ magical run to the 2021 Stanley Cup Final, notching six assists and 51 hits along the way, but he has just two goals and seven points in 41 games this campaign.

Sportsnet’s Eric Engels reported during Sunday’s broadcast that the Dallas Stars and Detroit Red Wings are two teams potentially interested in Petry, who finished top-20 in Norris Trophy voting in two of the past three seasons.

Salary cap space or retaining salary could be an issue in a Petry deal. His contract carries a $6.25-million cap hit through the 2024-25 season and he’s eligible to refuse a trade to 15 teams thanks to a partial no-trade clause. He also has a full no-move clause, which means he can’t be waived or assigned to the minors without approval.

Petry isn’t the only veteran blueliner on Montreal who could be moved before the March 21 deadline. Left-handed defenceman Ben Chiarot’s name has frequently been mention in the rumour mill.

The Canadiens have lost 10 consecutive games and are an ugly 2-18-5 since late November. The team will conclude an eight-game homestand Thursday against the St. Louis Blues.

The current 10-game losing streak is the franchise’s worst in nearly 100 years. The record remains a 12-game skid during the 1925-26 season.

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