As players get older, you expect their play to regress. They tend to slow down and get outplayed by their younger opponents and teammates. Which tends to affect their ability to put up points or be used in key situations. However, that hasn’t been the case for Montreal Canadiens defenceman Jeff Petry. Each and every season, Petry keeps getting better and better. Now at 33 years old, Jeff Petry is putting up his best season to date and is in the conversation to be a finalist for the Norris Trophy.
Jeff Petry is Having a Norris Trophy Calibre Season for the Canadiens
Petry is Having a Career Year Statistically
The last three years have been the best of Jeff Petry’s career. Which is outstanding considering he turned 30 three years ago. However, now at 33, Petry is putting together the best season of his career. Petry has scored 11 goals and 16 assists for 27 points this season. His 27 points has him tied for 10th amongst defenceman in scoring. However, he has played the second-fewest games amongst anyone in the top 10. This puts him on pace for 19 goals and 46 points on the season. The 19 goals would be a new career-high for Petry, as his previous career-best was 13 during the 2018-19 season. While the 46 points would tie a career-high also from the 2018-19 season, he would accomplish this by playing in 26 fewer games. An outstanding feat, as Petry just keeps defying his age.
Advanced Stats to Back it Up
Not only do Petry’s base stats keep getting better, but he also has the advanced stats to back it up as well. Petry is currently having the best season of his career in the analytical world as well. Offensively, he has been outstanding, putting up a CorsiFor percentage of 59.13. His GF/60 (goals for per 60) is 3.06 and his xGF/60 (expected goals for per 60) is 2.58. He also has a CF/60 (CorsiFor per 60) of 65.33.
However, what’s really impressive is his defensive stats. Sporting a GA/60 (goals against per 60) of 1.8, an xGA/60 (expected goals against per 60) of 1.83 and a CA/60 (Corsi against per 60) of 45.16.
League-wide, this is where Petry places in each category amongst defenders who have played at least 400 minutes:
CorsiFor percentage – 5th
CF/60 – 5th
GF/60 – 18th
xGF/60 – 19th
GA/60 – 26th
xGA/60 – 11th
CA/60 – 8th
As you can see, Petry places in the top 30 in all stats, and in the top 20 in all but one. Analytically, he is putting together a fabulous season.
*All stats come from evolving-hockey.com. If you are not up to date on advanced stats, here are some beginner guides written by Last Word’s own Oscar Elieff.
Making Everyone Around Him Better
Petry’s abilities aren’t just proven in his own play, but the play of his teammates as well. Brett Kulak is one of the players who drastically improves his play once he is placed on a pairing with Jeff Petry. Here is a chart showing the difference of Kulak’s play while playing with and without Jeff Petry.
As you can see, Kulak thrives when he is with Petry. In fact, they’ve been one of the best pairings in the entire league over the past three seasons. Kulak was a player who was coming in and out of the lineup for the Canadiens, swapping roles with Victor Mete and playing on the bottom pairing. However, with Ben Chiarot out of the lineup, the Canadiens elected to put Petry’s regular defence partner Joel Edmundson with Shea Weber, and place Kulak back with Petry. The two have shown excellent chemistry and is making it impossible for Dominique Ducharme to think about sitting Kulak again.
*Numbers for this comparison were provided by naturalstattrick.com.
Petry Deserving of the Norris Trophy
With all this considered, you can see that Jeff Petry is certainly deserving to at least be in consideration for the Norris Trophy this season. He has stiff competition, with Victor Hedman and Darnell Nurse also having incredible seasons. However, if Petry continues his strong play, he should certainly be at least one of the finalists for the award. At 33-years-old, it’s an incredible accomplishment considering most would be starting to regress. And considering he’s locked up for another four years after this season at just $6.25 million per season, his contract could be considered one of the biggest steals in the league. With this in mind, there’s no reason to doubt that the best is yet to come from Jeff Petry.