Montour has been Panther’s Best Defenseman This Season
The Florida Panthers continue their march toward a potential postseason berth less than a month into the regular season. With a record of 34-27-7 and 75 points, they are three points behind the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins for the two wild card spots in the Eastern Conference. Additionally, the Cats have two games against the Islanders with 14 games remaining in the season compared to their 12 games remaining.
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One of the players leading attacks on the puck’s defensive side was defenseman Brandon Montour, who has seemingly rejuvenated his career since joining the Cats a few seasons ago.
Montour has 56 points (12 goals, 44 assists) in 66 games this season. All of these stats are career highs for the 28-year-old Brantford, Ontario native. He also leads all Panthers defensemen in those categories and is 10th best in the NHL. Best of all, there’s still plenty of time in the season for those numbers to grow.
The only thing he needs to work on is staying out of the box. He has 97 total penalty minutes this season, which is the most on the team and seventh most in the league, just two fewer than Tampa Bay Lightning forward Tanner Jeannot. That blemish aside, he was easily the Panthers’ best defenseman this season.
A change of scenery was the cure
Montour began his career with the Anaheim Ducks in 2014 when he was drafted by them in the second round 55th overall. He got off to a good start with the Ducks with a plus-11 rating in three seasons while recording eight playoff assists in 21 playoff games. Despite this, he was traded to the Buffalo Sabers in 2019. In three seasons as a Saber, he had just 42 points (13 goals, 29 assists) and had a minus-4 rating.
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As of the deadline of the 2021 season, general manager Bill Zito decided to give him a chance by trading a third-round pick in 2021 to acquire the defenseman. So far it has definitely paid off for the team.
It’s clear he wants to win in South Florida
With his performances throughout the season, Montour has one goal in mind. That goal is to win as the Florida Panther, and he believes he’s with the group to get the job done.
“We really want to win. When things go bad or the guys are tired we just try to keep the energy levels up. It was a bit quiet there but I thought we got it back in the third period. We have a good group here that wants to win.”
Brandon Montour on his team after a 4-3 overtime win over the Chicago Blackhawks.
The team rallies around that kind of mentality every night. Especially since the playoff race in the Eastern Conference is getting closer and closer.
What’s next for Monty?
For now, Montour and his team are focused on the postseason. He was a key figure in that push and knows exactly what to do with his playoff hockey experience. He also still has the sour taste of last year’s elimination against the Eastern Conference Champions in the Lightning.
Because of this, he has a chip on his shoulder to play at the elite level. If the Cats can get that out of him, the sky is the limit for what can be achieved this season.