By Michael Caples -
EAST LANSING - It was a busy summer for Jeff Petry.
The Farmington Hills native signed a new two-year deal to remain with the Edmonton Oilers – quickly becoming one of the most talent-laden youthful teams in the Western Conference. And the 24-year-old tied the knot with his longtime girlfriend on the first weekend of July.
Yet the former Spartans defenseman still found time to return to East Lansing for the club’s annual pro camp, designed to help MSU alums get into shape for their respective pro camps.
“It’s my third year, so it’s great coming back and skating with guys that have been around here for a while, and then even the new guys that are experiencing their first pro camp and getting ready for the season,” said Petry, also a former star for Orchard Lake St. Mary’s.
The 2012-13 season should mark Petry’s second full year in the NHL. After playing 35 games with the Oilers in 2010-11 (he played 41 with the club’s AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City), Petry skated in 73 last season. In 108 total NHL games, Petry has three goals and 27 assists for 30 points.
Like the majority of the Spartans in attendance, Petry was training for an upcoming NHL season, despite not knowing when it will actually start. The NHL and the NHLPA continue labor talks, with the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement looming on Sept. 15.
Yet the Oilers’ defenseman, who has switched from No. 58 to No. 2, said he can’t wait for the time to come for Edmonton to return to action; especially after also seeing his club re-sign Taylor Hall, the top pick in 2010, and add the top pick of 2012, Nail Yakupov, in the same off-season.
“I’m really excited to sign a new contract and to be a part of it,” Petry said. “Knowing that we’re a young team with a bright future, hopefully we can get it started and keep it consistent throughout the season.”
Petry also said he’s excited to see what’s next for the Spartans, after watching Tom Anastos’ first year with the program and their return to the NCAA tournament.
“I think he’s great for the program,” Petry said of Anastos. “He’s been in the players’ shoes here, he knows the tradition and everything around the program. It’s been a good start, and it’s only going to go up from here.”