Petry: I’ve wanted to play for hometown Red Wings ‘my whole life’

Petry: I've wanted to play for hometown Red Wings 'my whole life'

For Ann Arbor native Jeff Petry, a chance to play for his hometown Detroit Red Wings has been on his mind for a long time.

“You grow up watching a team, you always play that situation out in your mind of you wearing that jersey. … You keep thinking in your head, ‘OK, when is that opportunity going to come? Can it come?'” he said Wednesday during his introductory presser.

“For me, I always thought about wanting to play one year here maybe at the end of my career, or whenever the opportunity came. To get that call yesterday was a very special moment for me.”

The Red Wings acquired Petry from the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday in exchange for defenseman Gustav Lindstrom and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2025.

It was the second trade involving Petry in the span of nine days. He ended up with the Habs as one of the nine players involved in the swap that sent stud blue-liner Erik Karlsson to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Petry spent the 2022-23 campaign with the Penguins – amassing 31 points in 61 games while averaging 22:21 minutes of ice time a night – but spent the previous eight seasons with the Canadiens.

Montreal wasn’t planning on a long-term reunion with Petry, though. The 35-year-old said the team was “very transparent” about wanting to move him, and general manager Kent Hughes asked him about where he’d prefer to go.

“Detroit was the No. 1 spot on my list,” he said. “I want to play here – I’ve wanted to my whole life. I like what I see when I look at that roster.”

The Red Wings have missed the playoffs for seven straight seasons in a tough Atlantic Division, but there have been signs of improvement. Detroit finished this past season with 35 wins and 80 points, the team’s highest totals since the last time it made the postseason in 2015-16.

Petry is optimistic that his new squad can keep pushing the needle.

“I think you see some of the younger players over the last couple years there getting that experience, starting to figure out what their roles are in the league,” he said. “Adding players like (Alex DeBrincat) and (J.T. Compher), those kind of guys, you can see the roster starting to round out.

“I’m excited to get started and do what I can to help that team continue to take those steps forward.”

Petry chose to wear No. 46 with the Red Wings in a “unique and fitting opportunity” to honor his father, Dan, who wore the same number when he pitched for the MLB’s Detroit Tigers.

In addition to DeBrincat, Compher, and Petry, the Red Wings have also added Christian Fischer, Shayne Gostisbehere, Justin Holl, Klim Kostin, Alex Lyon, James Reimer, and Daniel Sprong to their ranks this summer.

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