The Montreal Canadiens defenseman has been turning heads.
Petry scoring against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Photo from @jeffpetry26 / Instagram
After a 7-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday, the Montreal Canadiens appear to be back in the game, and one player that seems to be the topic of all Habs discussions is defenseman Jeff Petry. Petry currently has a total of 22 points in 23 games, which is tied with Quinn Hughes for second in the NHL among defenseman, only behind Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman, who has 24 points in the same amount of games. This begs the question: Can Petry win the Norris Trophy awarded to the season’s best defenseman?
Jeff Petry is a name that is very well known in Montreal, however, he never quite received that same recognition among other teams despite collecting 40+ points in his past two seasons. This isn’t the case this year, as Petry is now considered to be a Norris trophy candidate.
Why now? As I stated earlier, Petry is no stranger to putting up points, so why has it taken so long for him to get the recognition he deserves? Many believe that it is due to his defensive improvements. In previous seasons, Jeff Petry had been considered to be a defensive liability at times. Causing frequent turnovers and often ending the season with a disappointing +/- (he ended last season with a -10). He has been changing that this year, boasting a +15, which beats Victor Hedman’s +9, and sits him at 3rd in the entire NHL for +/-. Although this stat doesn’t actually describe how good a player is, it is notable to see how much his numbers have improved.
Petry’s balance of great offensive and defensive stats have led many fans to believe that he is the forerunner for the Norris trophy. There are many more games to be played before the season ends, but if Petry can keep this performance up, he might have to add Norris winner to his resume.