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Petry's Performance Matches His Position in Montreal's Salary-structure

By Kicks @Chrisboucher73
Jeff Petry was recently signed for a dollar-value that places him third among Habs defensemen. His position behind PK Subban and Andrei Markov in Montreal's salary-structure is indicative of Petry's talents; primarily his ability to move possession efficiently up-ice. His recent playoff performance saw his numbers push those of Subban, while actually surpassing those of Andrei Markov.
Since arriving in Montreal, Petry has been more involved in the play than Subban. In fact, Petry averaged 115.6 events per-20 minutes of even-strength ice-time; well above Subban's regular season average of 105, and slightly more than Subban's playoff average of 112. Looking around the league at players we've tracked, only Karlsson's 116.2 events per-20 are higher than Petry's, while Calgary Flames defenseman TJ Brodie matched Petry's 115.6.
Petry came to Montreal with a reputation as a strong skater, and has produced numbers indicative of this strength. He's averaged an incredible 30.4 loose-puck recoveries per-20. More than any other defenseman tracked; including Subban's 29.9, Markov's 22.5, Karlsson's 27.7, and Victor Hedman's 23.2.
In terms of Petry's ability to move possession up ice, he actually produced more even-strength possession driving plays per-20 than any other Habs defensman; including Subban. Possession-driving plays include outlet passes, stretch passes, controlled exits, controlled entries, red line carries, neutral-zone north-bound passes, open-ice dekes, and neutral-zone cross-ice passes. Petry averaged 26.55 possession-driving plays per-20, while Subban averaged an almost identical 26.48. In comparison, Karlsson averaged 29.3, while teammate Markov averaged only 14.27 during the playoffs.
Petry's passing ability from the defensive-zone has been nothing short of phenomenal. He produced 2.97 successful stretch-passes per-20 since arriving in Montreal with an incredible success-rate-rate of 94.4%. Markov averaged 0.61 per-20 with a success-rate of 50%, while Subban averaged 2.34 with a success-rate of 88.2%. Even Karlsson, as an example averaged only 1.71 successful stretch passes per-20, with a success-rate of 60%.
Petry's production driving possession up-ice was not just a function of his passing ability, as it was actually helped by his skating ability. Petry averaged 7 line-carries (defensive-blue, red line, and offensive-blue) per-20 minutes of even-strength ice-time. This was just slightly lower than Subban's 7.95 per-20, Hedman's 9.02, and Karlsson's 12.4; but well above Markov's 2.91.
Style-wise, Petry played a similar game to Subban in the defensive-zone. Petry averaged 0.39 controlled exits to every 1 dump-out, while PK averaged 0.39. Moving up the ice however, Petry was far more likely to carry the puck into the offensive-zone than Subban. Petry averaged 1 controlled-entry into the offensive-zone for every 1 dump-in, while Subban averaged only 0.33 controlled entries for every 1 dump-in (during the playoffs). Karlsson's average during the playoff series against Montreal was 1.47.
Defensively, Petry has been solid enough to maintain his position among the Habs top-3. The defensive-zone has seen him produce 10.65 successful defensive-touches per-20, with a success-rate of 61%. Markov has produced 9.05 successful defensive-touches per-20, with a success-rate of 62.8%, while Subban produced 9.19, with a success-rate of 64.8%. Looking around the league, Karlsson has averaged 8.49/68.78%, Anton Stralman 8.93/70.3%, and Dennis Wideman 9.34/52%.
Petry's defensive-numbers in the neutral-zone were equally impressive, as he produced 2.10 successful defensive-touches in the n-zone per-20, and had a success-rate of 80%. Subban produced 2.34/83.3%, Markov 2.30/68.2%, Karlsson 1.85/68.4%, and Hedman 1.32/66.7%.
An argument could easily be made using these numbers that Petry's salary should be above that of Andrei Markov. That may very well be true. But the fact remains that Petry's numbers (while impressive) are not the product of a substantial sample size. The true measure of Petry's value to the Canadiens moving forward will be found in his ability to maintain his recent levels of production through next season, and beyond.

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