Jeff Petry had a shot at a career year offensively had it not been for the pandemic. Will he be able to pick up where he left off or will a revamped back end lead to a dip in production?
After a career year in 2018-19, it was fair to wonder what was next. Would he hit yet another level offensively, take a step back, or if he’d produce at a similar level. Although he got off to a bit of a slow start (2-8-10 in the first six weeks of the year spanning 19 games), it turned out to be the latter.
In fact, very little changed from one year to the next for the veteran. He still played behind Shea Weber at even strength, saw plenty of time on both the power play and penalty kill, and wound up finishing just behind Weber in ATOI. It basically got to the point where it would have been fair to wonder if Petry was still the number two defender or if he was 1B to Weber’s 1A.
In the postseason, nothing really changed either. He was used the exact same way and while his offensive production dipped, the two goals he scored were both game-winners. There were a lot of Habs who had disappointing years last season but Petry certainly wasn’t one of them which helped him earn a four-year, $25 million contract extension.
Season Stats: 71 GP, 11 goals, 29 assists, 40 points, -10 rating, 26 PIMS, 3 PPG, 3 GWG, 158 shots, 23:39 ATOI, 57.0 CF%
Playoff Stats: 10 GP, 2 goals, 1 assist, 3 points, +1 rating, 6 PIMS, 0 PPG, 2 GWG, 15 shots, 25:27 ATOI, 60.1 CF%
5 Year Averages
(2019-20’s stats were extrapolated to an 82-game rate.)
What will this season look like? Well, a lot like last year (which looked like the year before). He’s still on the second pairing and still behind Shea Weber. He may even see some early action with a new defenceman in Joel Edmundson after being the speculative partner for Ben Chiarot at this time a year ago.
What about special teams? There may be a small change there as he may be partnered up with Weber on the top power play unit instead of Weber on the first and Petry anchoring the second. With new tactics, new personnel, and the belief that the power play couldn’t be any worse if it tried, that all adds up to some hope for a boost for Petry.
On the penalty kill, whether he’s on the top unit or second doesn’t really matter much given the speed that they switch pairs when they can. From that point of view, it’s merely the fact that he’ll be a fixture on the penalty kill that matters the most.
As many of you who read this series regularly know, I’m a big fan of Petry when it comes to fantasy pools. He’s consistent enough offensively that there isn’t a lot of risk and he’s a part of the ‘triple 100’ club (100 or more shots, hits, and blocks). For leagues with some of those categories, he gets a boost. For ones with all of these categories, he becomes one of the better defencemen in the second tier beyond the top guys.
For smaller points-based leagues, he’s probably a third blueliner but for most pools, he’s a number two option. And for deeper ones with those extra scoring categories, he’s a low-end number one option (if not a high-end number two). Flashier players will come off the board earlier than they should but when it comes to dependable options, Petry is still one of the more reliable ones out there. His ADP for most leagues is a little past 100th overall and he should be one of the first Habs off the board in most formats.