Jeff Petry’s offensive contribution has never been in doubt since joining the Canadiens in March 2015. In each of the past three seasons, he has reached or crossed the 40-point plateau. It is on the defensive level that the American has always torn more.
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The plus and minus record is increasingly contested in this age of advanced statistics. It is not as precise as the statistic which evaluates the number of chances to score conceded by a team when a player is on the ice or the number of times that this one puts his formation in trouble with a failed pass. or a lost puck.
She remains a good indicator all the same. Especially when a player has a differential of -30 (2017-2018) or -10 (2019-2020), as was the case for Petry in two of the last three campaigns. He himself has often expressed the wish to improve this performance and, therefore, the defensive aspect of his game.
The sample is slim, but after six games the 33-year-old full-back is on the right track. Heading into Thursday’s games, he led NHL defensemen with a stellar +9 record.
“During my career, I grew up as a defender. I have improved in several aspects, said Petry, hours before the first of two games against the Flames. My defensive play was something I wanted to work on. Since the end of last year, and during my time in the bubble, I’ve taken a pretty big step in the right direction. I haven’t changed too much, but I’m playing with more confidence and confidence. “
Same efficiency in attack
The arrival of Joel Edmundson to his left is certainly no stranger to this tighter game. After one or two adaptation games, the former Blues and Hurricanes player began to clean up his territory quite a bit.
But the fantastic thing about Petry’s case is that this sudden success in defensive territory didn’t affect his effectiveness in attack. Also before Thursday’s games, he was third in scoring at the backs with a harvest of 7 points. He was only beaten by youngsters Quinn Hughes (9 points) and Cale Makar (8 points).
With him and Shea Weber, the right flank of the Canadiens’ defensive brigade has rarely looked so good.
“We are betting on a very good one-two punch with Webby (Weber) and Petty (Petry) on the right side. As a right winger, I know that exits from the territory are very easy, ”said Brendan Gallagher, very satisfied with the situation.
“Jeff had an immediate impact from his debut in Montreal. It is very versatile. You can count on him to do the job. He is definitely a good defender and I have the feeling that he is always improving, ”continued the fiery striker.
The example of Mark Giordano
It seems that there is no age to complete his progression. In Calgary, Mark Giordano won the Norris Trophy at the age of 35.
“Over the years, you gain experience. This is even more true in the post of defender. You come to know your territory a lot better, so your reading of the game improves, ”said the Flames captain.
Again, the sample is thin. We should be careful not to be afraid. To claim that Petry could be a Norris Trophy contender seems a little premature.
But, due to his start to the season, he has already started to attract some glances.
“Jeff has been a good player for a long time,” said Giordano. I don’t know the exact statistics, but I do know he’s having a great start to the season offensively. Often when you post good offensive stats, you get more recognition. ”