Jeff Petry’s first full season in Montreal didn’t go quite as well as anyone had hoped. Will he underwhelm again in 2016-17 or will he rebound and become more of a steady presence on the back end?
Fresh off signing a six year, $33 million deal to avoid free agency, the hope was that Petry would continue to be a reliable two-way option while playing behind P.K. Subban on the second defence pairing. Early on, he did just that, picking up nine points in the first quarter of the season, back when the offence was coming from more than just a handful of players.
As the rest of the team began to struggle once Carey Price went down, so too did Petry. The production dried up and he started making more mistakes in his own end, something we hadn’t seen in his time with the Canadiens (but occurred with more regularity in Edmonton). Then to make matters worse, he missed the final two months of the year after undergoing surgery for a sports hernia, ending his year on a sour note.
Season Stats: 51 GP, 5 goals, 11 assists, 16 points, -6 rating, 16 PIMS, 1 PPG, 2 GWG, 98 shots, 21:21 ATOI
5 Year Averages
(Because of the lockout-shortened season, we are prorating all of 2012-13’s numbers over a full 82 game season.)
For the second straight year, Petry should line up as the right shooting second pairing blueliner although he’ll be playing behind Shea Weber instead of P.K. Subban. Who he plays with is one of the more interesting questions heading into training camp. If Nathan Beaulieu steps up and plays with Weber, that could allow Andrei Markov to drop down onto what would become an intriguing duo, particularly when it comes to his point potential. If not, Petry could be paired with Beaulieu on what would be their best skating unit or Alexei Emelin on what would potentially be their most physical pairing.
In terms of special teams, expect Petry to get a large dose of both power play and penalty kill time. With the man advantage, Petry quietly saw a career high in ice time per game (1:48 per night) and there is some potential for that to go up as Weber won’t play the full two minutes anywhere near as often as Subban did. Petry led all Montreal blueliners in SH TOI/game last season but I’m not sure that will happen this year as I expect Weber to shoulder a bigger load in this area than Subban did. That makes him a second unit player in both situations.
In terms of looking at the basic stats, nothing’s going to blow you away when it comes to Petry. With secondary ice time in pretty much all situations, he’s not going to light up the scoresheet on a regular basis. Two-way defencemen don’t stand out too often.
Generally speaking, a blueliner who puts up around 20-25 points doesn’t carry much fantasy value and in standard points leagues, that will be the case and he’ll be nothing more than a late pick or waiver wire pick up. For ones that have shots, hits, and blocks as scoring categories though, you’ll want to take note of this.
Two years ago, Petry was one of 23 rearguards league wide to put up 100+ shots, hits, and blocks. Prior to his injury, he was well on pace towards doing so again last season (where 24 players reached the triple 100 mark). That gives him some sneaky upside as a bit of a stat stuffer, particularly in head-to-head leagues where week-to-week consistency in those areas can be important. In those pools, I’d rank him as a 4/5 blueliner which would set him up to be picked around the back quarter of a draft.