Greg Pateryn has signed a two year extension with the Montreal Canadiens. Habs general manager Marc Bergevin announced the extension this afternoon. Financial terms of the contract have not yet been released.
Pateryn is a big, young, right handed, two way defenseman, who had an excellent season with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League this season.
The 23 year old finished second in the AHL among defenders with 15 goals. In his second season with the Bulldogs, Pateryn set career highs in goals, assists with 19 and points with 34.
Pateryn was picked by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 5th round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. He was traded to the Canadiens along with a 2nd round pick in exchange for Mikhail Grabovski. The 2nd round selection was then sent to the Chicago Blackhawks for Robert Lang.
Pateryn made his NHL debut with the Canadiens last season, suiting up for three games late in the regular season, but played the entire 2013-14 season with the Bulldogs.
The question for the big defenseman now, is when can he become a regular on the Canadiens blue line?
The Habs look to have P.K. Subban, Josh Gorges, Alexei Emelin returning next season for sure, and are likely to bring back Andrei Markov after he finished off the regular season and entered the playoffs with very strong play. Also in the future plans are young defenseman Jarred Tinordi and Nathan Beaulieu, both of whom have more NHL experience that Pateryn, and more pedigree as they were 1st round selections of the Canadiens.
Pateryn is the only right shooting defenseman of that group other than Subban, and outscored Beaulieu with the Bulldogs this season. Beaulieu had 37 points in comparison to Pateryn’s 34, but also played 11 less games than the much more physical Pateryn.
My guess is the Canadiens re-sign Markov, but make room on the roster for all three young defenders to take plenty of reps next season. The only problem with that is head coach Michel Therrien favors veteran players, as is proven by his insistence to play Douglas Murray and Francis Bouillon in important games over Tinordi, who outplayed the pair of defenseman from the 35 and over group.
Pateryn is sticking around with the Habs organization, but may have to wait a little longer before he becomes an NHL regular. As the old saying goes, no hockey player was even ruined by too much time in the American League. Truth is, Pateryn will be much better when he sticks in the NHL, thanks to his minor league experience.