SUNRISE — While Brandon Montour would have liked to have have been selected to last weekend’s NHL All-Star Game, the defenseman for the Florida Panthers had a backup plan.
Montour is in the midst of a breakout season, one which should have made him a serious contender for the All-Star Game.
Matthew Tkachuk and Sasha Barkov, obviously represented the Panthers and, as Montour said, “showed well.’’
”It would would have been cool for the resume and in that I had not experienced it before,” Montour said. “It being at home, it would have been great. But we had two guys who fully deserved to be there and they obviously showed well. That was good to see. But I was in the Bahamas and I didn’t mind that either.”
The numbers Montour is putting up this season have drawn some attention.
On Thursday night, Montour’s career-long 10-game scoring streak may have came to an end but he is still ranked eighth among defensemen in scoring with 44 points.
During the 10-game run, Montour had three goals and 10 points to give him the longest scoring streak by a defenseman in franchise history.
Last month, his five-game scoring streak was the longest (to date) of his career and was one shy of the franchise record.
Montour now has at least a point in 13 of his past 15 games.
A few weeks ago, he got his 38th point of the season which marked a career-high and on Jan. 23, he became just the ninth defenseman in Florida’s history to hit 40 points in a season.
And he did that in just 47 games.
Montour is also one goal away from tying last season’s career-high of 11.
“Brandon is an interesting guy and we looked hard at him in Winnipeg when his name came up,” coach Paul Maurice said. “We did a lot of background on him. Opportunity is very important and he has modified his game. It may be opportunity, but his minutes have come way up and we find there is more patience in his game. He does not need to be up in every play.
”So much on defensemen is the situation you are playing in. The situation he was in was they were chasing a lot of games in Anaheim and Buffalo. He is an offensive defenseman and then that becomes your game. Then you do not develop the rest of your game, the defensive structure. He is playing 25 minutes a night, he can pick his spots.”
Montour has been a solid defensive player for the Panthers since coming over at the 2021 trade deadline in a deal with Buffalo.
He signed a three-year extension with the team that offseason and has continued to be a big part of the Florida blueline.
The Panthers certainly have leaned on him more this season especially early on when Aaron Ekblad went down with a groin injury in Boston.
Montour was moved up to the top pairing with Gus Forsling and he saw his minutes climb and his offensive numbers spike.
Being on the top power play unit certainly has not hurt his stats, either.
In looking at his numbers from last season, Montour has tripled his number of power play goals (three) and doubled his assists (15).
He is also averaging over six minutes more in icetime this season which certainly he has taken advantage of.
“You get more engaged, which is something I like,’’ Montour said earlier this season. “This is what you train all summer for. … I want to get out there as much as I can and want to keep it going. I am enjoying the moment. I take each game one at a time and whether I score or make a play, it’s one shift and move to the next.
”People see me as an offensive guy, but I take pride playing in the defensive end and I think I have focused on that over the years and that has become a strength of mine as well.”
PANTHERS ON DECK
COLORADO AVALANCHE AT FLORIDA PANTHERS
- When: Saturday, 6 p.m.
- Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
- Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- Last season: Split 1-1
- This season (Florida leads 1-0): Panthers 5, Avalanche 4 (Jan. 10)
- All-time regular season series: Colorado leads 26-12-5, 3 ties
- Up Next for the Panthers: Monday at Minnesota, 8 p.m.