clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2015-16 Montreal Canadiens Season Preview: Greg Pateryn

With some playoff experience under his belt, Greg Pateryn hopes to crack the Habs' lineup on a permanent basis in 2015-16.

Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

After finding increased playing time towards the end of the 2014-15 season and into the playoffs, Greg Pateryn is hoping to land a full-time job with the Canadiens this year.

The 25-year-old defenseman was acquired in a 2008 trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs, as part of the return for centreman Mikhail Grabovski. The move came mere weeks after being selected by the Leafs in the fifth round of the NHL Entry Draft. Since then, Pateryn has spent time with the NCAA’s Michigan Wolverines – alongside fellow Habs prospect Mac Bennett – and later with the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs, for whom he led all defensemen in scoring in his first full season.

Most recently, however, Pateryn has made his way into the Canadiens’ lineup, suiting up for 17 regular season games this past year, in addition to 7 outings in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

2014-15 Season Review

Pateryn only played a total of 202 minutes last season, but during that time he represented a surprisingly calming presence on the Habs blue-line. Although it’s a small sample size, the rookie was able to have a mostly positive effect on his teammates when it comes to defensive performance. The same cannot be said about his offensive output, at least in the regular season, but that’s not necessarily what the Habs brass were looking for from Pateryn in his first extended stay with the big club.

Pateryn 10-game CF% condensed
2014-15 10-game average Corsi-for percentage with Pateryn on the ice (blue line) compared to when he was not (orange line). Score-adjusted five-on-five data from WAR On Ice. Charts created by Spencer Mann.

The Habs were a better possession team with Pateryn on the ice for nearly the entirety of his stay with the squad in 2014-15. However, there is a noteworthy reason for this: his very protected and offensively-oriented deployment in the playoffs. As we can see, Pateryn was mostly at his best from April 11 until around the end of that month, a time frame in which he started a team-high 68% of non-neutral zone faceoffs on the offensive side of the rink, which surely contributed to inflated possession numbers. It also helped him record his first three points in the NHL – all assists.

With that being said, Pateryn was actually deployed a bit more defensively down the stretch in the regular season, and remained at – if not above – the rest of the team with him on the bench. From his season debut on February 18th until the end of the campaign, Pateryn started just 46.08% of non-neutral zone faceoffs in the offensive end, which was only the fifth highest among Habs defensemen during that stretch.

While Pateryn was far from a revelation in 2014-15, he proved that he can step in and play a responsible style of game when called upon. Though he may have done this against weaker competition, playing mostly - if not exclusively - on the Habs bottom pairing, it was an overall reassuring effort nonetheless. An effort that should make Michel Therrien comfortable inserting him into the lineup when needed next season.

2015-16 Season Preview

Although Pateryn was held scoreless in his 17 regular-season games, there is at least a silver lining in that he can only go up from there.

It will be interesting to see what Pateryn’s role will be on the team when opening night rolls around on October 7 in Toronto. It’s unlikely that he will be back in Hamilton, but he may have a difficult time displacing veteran Tom Gilbert as the Habs third option on the right side out of training camp. Pateryn will also need to ward off Jarred Tinordi and Mark Barberio – both left hand defenders who will, at the very least, be looking to take the spot of seventh defenseman.

Photo credit: Getty Images

Should Pateryn find regular playing time, however, we can expect more offensive output from the Michigan native. While he certainly won’t be seen as a leader offensively for the team, a modest improvement in this facet of his game will be welcomed as he becomes more of an all-around player.

Conversely, Pateryn should see a downturn in his possession stats, with his CF% Rel expected to fall. This is reasonable considering he should see the ice in more games this season – likely in less protected deployments against somewhat higher quality competition.

It will be a quietly important season for Pateryn, especially with regards to his future in Montreal. Now waiver-eligible, and with a number of young defenders continuing to develop in the Habs system, Pateryn is drawing closer to the point in time where he’ll need to prove he belongs. If his performance in small doses last year was any indication, he should be able to do just that.