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Brandon Montour Ranked Among Top NHL Defensemen

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Florida Panthers defenseman Brandon Montour celebrates a third period goal during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the host Toronto Maple Leafs on May 2. (Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire)

Those who follow the Florida Panthers know what a big season Brandon Montour had last season — but they are not alone.

Montour’s breakout year earned him a couple of Norris Trophy votes and on Monday, NHL Network ranked him the No. 19 defenseman heading into the new season.

What a run it was for Montour.

Not only did he double his previous career-high in points (going from 37 to 73), Montour kept things going in the playoffs.

With eight goals and 13 points, he set the franchise record for most goals and points by a defenseman in Panthers’ postseason history.

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Montour, 29, also became the first defenseman in more than 20 years to score five goals in a single playoff series when the Panthers knocked off the Boston Bruins in the opening round.

His biggest moment may have come in Game 1 against Carolina in the Eastern Conference finals when he played a game-high 57:56 in Florida’s 3-2 win over the Hurricanes in quadruple overtime.

“I didn’t even think about it, surprisingly,” Montour said. “The more I went out there and your gear is soaked but I still had some energy. At the end, I was just happy we got the win.”

While Montour did not score in that Game 1, he did take eight shots and blocked three.

“He comes back to the bench and he’s fine,” coach Paul Maurice said. “There are unique players with a fitness level and some of it is they’re just different. They can go nonstop. Getting back to that training camp, on Day 3 I had bent them over pretty good and there were some guys who were hurting and he’s out there flying around. ‘You want to go two today?’ His recovery is just incredible.’’

The Panthers hope that recovery continues as he is expected to miss the start of the season after having surgery following a labrum injury sustained during the playoffs.

When he does get back into action, Montour is expected to get back to running the Florida power play where 30 of his career-high 57 assists came from.

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