Montreal Canadiens: Jeff Petry primed for another big season

MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 08: Jeff Petry #26 of the Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 08: Jeff Petry #26 of the Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

Montreal Canadiens Jeff Petry has grown into a quality top-four defenseman, and will look to continue his strong play this season.

Montreal Canadiens’ defenseman Jeff Petry is back at training camp, and ready for the condensed NHL season that lies ahead. There were questions surrounding Petry during the summer, as the blueliner was heading into the final year of a 6-year deal, signed with the Canadiens in 2015. Those questions were soon extinguished, as Petry signed a new 4-year $25 million dollar deal that will keep him in a Habs’ uniform until 2024-25. Something Habs’ fans should all be ecstatic about, as Petry has proven to be a pillar on the Canadiens’ blue line, and is in a position to have a career year this upcoming season.

Since being acquired in 2015 from the Edmonton Oilers, Petry has been a mainstay on Montreal’s blueline. Looking at the Oiler’s defensive core as of today, Petry would be a guy they would love to have on their back end. Especially after giving him up for only a second and fourth round draft pick. Compliments to you Marc Bergevin.

Since arriving in Montreal, Petry has elevated his game each season. The 33-year-old  put up 7 points in 19 games for the Canadiens after being acquired from Edmonton at the trade deadline. He then followed up with 16 points in 51 games the next season, and 28 points in 80 games the season after. The 2017-2018 season, his third full season in Montreal, is when Petry really started to hit his stride as an offensive defenseman. He collected a career high 42 points in 82 games, and proceeded to break that mark the following campaign with 46 points in 82 games.

Points wise, Petry was on pace to set a new career high last year, before the season was cut short due to COVID-19.

The Habs will have a  retooled and revamped forward group this season, leading the team to be more offensively minded, something that as eluded them for the past few seasons. This should play right into the hands of Petry, and allow him to be more active in the play to compliment the new look attack up front for the Habs.

Petry is at his best when he is activated in the play and adding an extra passing option for the forwards. He is dynamic offensively and can create plays in the offensive zone with his quick skating and mobility. For example:

In the past, Petry has not been able to jump up in the play as much, due to his defensive partners not being efficient enough to cover him if things went awry. This led Petry to be more conservative and not able to contribute as much as he would’ve liked off the rush or in the offensive zone.

Some names that come to mind when referring to Petry’s previous defensive partners, are Tom Gilbert, Nathan Beaulieu, and Karl Alzner. With the new acquisition of Joel Edmundson, who is slotted in next to Petry at camp, Petry should be able to activate himself more often without having to worry about his partner being there if there is a turnover.

in a press conference on Wednesday, Edmundson has this to say:

“Petry and Pietrangelo are similar players. Big defensemen, right-handed shot, love to jump up in the play. I think when I’m paired up with a guy like that, it allows them to jump up in the play more often and know that I’ve got their backs.”

Edmundson brings toughness, steady defensive play, and experience to the Canadiens’ lineup. Something to compliment Petry perfectly.

Petry is also on the first powerplay unit to start training camp. He joins a talented first unit of Shea Weber, Nick Suzuki, Tyler Toffoli, and Jonathan Drouin. It was a trend last season that teams were focused on taking away the heavy shot of Shea Weber on the Canadiens’ power play. I do not expect that trend to stop anytime soon, so look for Petry to be the main shooter on the power play if Weber is heavily covered.

Pick your poison, as Petry can bring the heat as well. His one-timer, as seen below, is hard and accurate:

Petry, a native of Ann Arbor Michigan, logged heavy minutes for the Canadiens in 2019-2020 playoffs. He was Montreal’s most utilized defenseman, averaging 25:27 TOI/GP ( Time On Ice per Game Played). Expect Petry to lead Montreal in ice time this season, especially with his new found role next to Weber on the power play.

Since coming over from Edmonton, Petry has not slowed down, and has developed into a fantastic offensive defenseman. Mind you, Petry is no slouch in the defensive zone, he possesses a strong defensive game and can punish forwards physically along the boards. He is very well rounded and deserves every bit of his new contract. Underrated is a word that comes to mind.

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With the Canadiens’ new look offense, a spot on the number one power play unit, and a viable defensive partner, Petry is primed to have his best season yet in Montreal.