He arrived in the weeks after the Edmonton Oilers fell just short of glory and honestly there wasn’t much on him draft day. Petry was not among the 100 most heralded projections on any of the lists I could find at the time and there was precious little on him in the early days.
- Guy Flaming at Hockey’s Future: “Petry is a smart two-way defenseman who is an excellent skater with good mobility, which he uses to shut down opponents. The 6’2.5, 176-pound Petry plays with an edge and can lay out some good hits. He also doesn’t mind battling in front of the net. Offensively, Petry has a cannon for a point shot, but often uses a wrist shot as well so that it does not get blocked and does not allow the goaltender to set up. Petry also uses his skating and stick skills to make accurate passes out of the zone or to skate the puck up himself, which he has the speed and stickhandling to do.”
Petry would spend one more year at Des Moines of the USHL and then play three seasons at Michigan State. By the time he turned pro, there was a lot in his game to suggest he would deliver on promise and become an NHL player. He spent fewer than 50 games in the minors and then moved up to the NHL, where he developed into a useful defenseman over 295 games in the show.
Today, Edmonton’s best defenseman—age 27—is down the road and into the playoffs for the first time. Oilers fans knew this day was coming the moment David Perron was dealt and the return on both trades tells us the rebuild has no plan to turn north. Craig MacTavish could cash some of these picks acquired today in order to acquire a useful player for next season but the tragedy is that useful player’s profile would look identical to that of Jeff Petry.
Those discussions will wait for a later hour. Sail on, Jeff Petry. You came to us in a time of addled thinking wrapped around a ball of confusion. You left us in the same state but gave Oilers fans many great memories. Godspeed, win a Stanley and enjoy your life young man.