MONTREAL (AP) Jeff Petry liked Montreal so much he decided to stay.
The 27-year-old defenseman has agreed to a $33 million, six-year contract with the Canadiens. He was eligible for unrestricted free agency.
”Once I started negotiating with the Canadiens, my wife and I made a decision we really strongly wanted to come back,” Petry said Tuesday on a conference call from West Bloomfield, Michigan. ”Everything from the day I got there to the playoff run, the environment at the Bell Centre, the players in the locker room, the organization just being first class – that all played into it and played a big part in ultimately signing the deal.”
Petry became a key performer for the Canadiens after general manager Marc Bergevin acquired him from Edmonton at the trade deadline. Bergevin said Petry ”showed a tremendous will to commit to the Canadiens and stay in Montreal.”
Petry will count $5.5 million against the salary cap through the 2020-21 season. The Canadiens parted with a second-round pick and one that turned into a fourth-rounder in the trade with the Oilers.
He had three goals and four assists in 19 regular-season games for the Canadiens. He added two goals and an assist in the postseason.
”He is a solid defenseman with speed and size who acquired valuable playoff experience this year,” Bergevin said in a statement. ”Jeff is a very good fit within our group of defensemen, and his presence gives us a lot of depth at this position.”
Petry said he fit in so well in Montreal because of the style of play and what the organization and coaching staff expects from players.
”It’s a quick puck-moving team with a quick transition,” Petry said. ”That’s something I pride my game on is being a good first passer.”