Coming into his first full season with the Florida Panthers, Brandon Montour finds himself with even more responsibility: Time on the power play.
To open the season, Montour has been playing on the second power play unit alongside Joe Thornton, Owen Tippett, and Carter Verhaeghe.
Montour had five goals and 14 points in 28 games prior to being traded to the Panthers from Buffalo at last season’s deadline. It looked like he gelled right with his Florida teammates, getting two goals and four points in 12 games down the stretch.
“Yeah, for the most part,” Montour said when asked if he is feeling settled in. “I think every day you get better. We’re still early in the season, but I think through camp and the first little bit I’ve been playing well and we just gotta keep going.”
Montour showed flashes of getting going during the preseason, sharing a lead in assists (four) and points (five) among defensemen.
His two powerplay points tied him for second among NHL defensemen behind Erik Gustafsson.
“I think Montour has been solid for us, I think he’s been solid,” Joel Quenneville said. “He’s playing minutes and you notice him when he’s out there, you see him in the rush, you see him off the point, offensively, defensively, and his gaps are getting better.”
Sam Reinhart, who was Montour’s teammate in Buffalo for three years from 2018-21, saw a lot of improvement in Montour since he arrived in Florida.
“He’s been great,” Reinhart said. “The speed he brings all over the ice, the competitiveness, I think it’s infectious on the team, so I think he’s someone who can play in all situations and he’s been great to have.”
Now running Florida’s second power play unit, Montour got the Panthers’ first power play goal of the season off a beauty of a wrister in the Panthers’ 4-1 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The official scorer originally ruled that the goal came after the Florida power play had ended but the NHL amended that later and Montour got credit for the power play goal.
“You just keep creating chances, using my legs and getting into the offensive zone and helping those guys out,” Montour said. “When I get the chance to be on the power play, I like to shoot the puck and luckily enough, that one went through.”
In his five-season career, Montour only reached double digits in power play points once, when he had 12 in 80 games during the 2017-18 season with the Anaheim Ducks.
After being traded to the Sabres, he never eclipsed more than three in a season. He did have three in 20 games with the Sabres after being traded there in 2018-19.
Now, he’s looking more and more comfortable offensively and looks like he’s well on track to breaking those career highs — and Coach Q trusts him.
He is second on the team in power play time on ice amongst defensemen with 3:59 — trailing Ekblad’s 12:23 — while having some of the best puck possession metrics on the team, leading all defensemen who have played all three games with a 62.8 shot attempts percentage.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
COLORADO AVALANCHE AT FLORIDA PANTHERS
- WHEN: Thursday, 7 p.m.
- WHERE: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- TICKETS: CLICK HERE
- TV/STREAMING: Bally Sports Florida
- RADIO: 560-AM
- 2021 regular season series: Did not play