Montour has been Panther’s Best Defenseman This Season

The Florida Panthers continue their march towards a potential postseason berth with less than a month to go in the regular season. With a record of 34-27-7 and 75 points, they sit three points behind the New York Islanders and the Pittsburgh Penguins for the two wild-card spots in the Eastern Conference. Additionally, the Cats have two games in hand on the Islanders with 14 games remaining in the season compared to their 12 games left.

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One of the players leading the charge on the defensive side of the puck has been defenseman Brandon Montour, who has seemingly rejuvenated his career since his trade to the Cats a couple of seasons ago.

Montour Mania

This season, Montour piled up 56 points (12 goals, 44 assists) through 66 games. All of those stats are career highs for the 28-year-old Brantford, Ontario, native. In addition, he leads all Panthers defensemen in those categories and is the 10th best in the NHL. The best part is that there’s still plenty of time in the season to boost those numbers.

Brandon Montour Florida Panthers
Brandon Montour currently leads all Florida Panthers defensemen in goals, assists and points. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The only thing that he has to work on is keeping himself out of the box. This season, he has a total of 97 penalty minutes, which is the most on the team and the seventh most across the league with only two less than Tampa Bay Lightning forward Tanner Jeannot. Other than that blemish, he’s easily been the best defenseman for the Panthers this season.

A Change of Scenery was the Cure

Montour got his career started with the Anaheim Ducks as he was drafted by them in the second round, 55th overall, back in 2014. He had a good start with the Ducks with a plus-11 rating through three seasons while tallying eight playoff assists in 21 playoff games. Despite that, he was dealt in 2019 to the Buffalo Sabres. In three seasons as a Sabre, he only piled up 42 points (13 goals, 29 assists) and had a minus-4 rating.

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At the deadline of the 2021 season, general manager Bill Zito decided to take a chance on him by trading a third-round pick in 2021 to acquire the defenseman. So far, it’s definitely paid dividends for the team.

It’s Clear he Wants to Win in South Florida

With his performances all season long, Montour has one goal in mind. That goal is to win as a Florida Panther, and he believes that he’s with the group to get the job done.

“We want to win so bad. When things are going bad or guys are tired, we just try to keep the energy levels up. It was a little quiet there, but I thought in the third period we gained it back. We have a good group here that wants to win.”

Brandon Montour on his team after a 4-3 overtime victory against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The team is rallying around that type of mentality every single night. Especially since the playoff race is getting tighter in the Eastern Conference.

What’s Next for Monty?

Right now, the focus for Montour and his team is the push towards the postseason. He’s been a key piece in said push and knows exactly what to do with his experience in playoff hockey. Furthermore, he still has that sour taste left in his mouth from last years’ elimination at the hands of the Eastern Conference Champions in the Lightning.

Because of that, he has a chip on his shoulder to play at an elite level. If the Cats can get that out of him, the sky is the limit for the achievements possible this season.

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