Pater-in or Pater-out? Greg Pateryn’s Future with the Montreal Canandiens

The Montreal Canadiens were plagued with injuries all season long, which hurt the team’s chances of making it into post-season festivities. On the flip side, however, the fans and the organization got to witness the development of a few younger players who would have otherwise played much less or not at all. One such player was Greg Pateryn.

Greg Pateryn

Greg Pateryn has provided some releif on the Canadiens injury plagued defense. (Photo by Getty images).

The 25 year-old Michigan native left his mark last year in the playoffs, as he replaced an injured Nathan Beaulieu. With only three points in seven games played, his contributions were more defensive than offensive. It was clear that he would make his name as a responsible “defensive” defensemen. Come the beginning of the 2015-2016 campaign, it seemed that Pateryn would be given a chance to play in the top-6. Instead, he was slated as the 7th defensemen since the Habs were graced with depth on the right with Subban, Petry, and Gilbert.

Much like Alex Galchenyuk (with the Desharnais situation), Pateryn only received his real chance to play once injuries started plaguing the blue line. He was inserted into the lineup when Alexei Emelin went down early on in the season, but it took him awhile to adapt to the play and gain confidence. Combined with Therrien’s short leash and zero tolerance for mistakes (depending on the player, of course), Pateryn found himself in the press box for a good chunk of the season. Yes, Galchenyuk and Pateryn are very different players, however, apart from the fact that they play very distinct positions, both are also expected to carry different roles on the team. While Galchenyuk is supposed to assume the role of 1st line centre, Pateryn should occupy a quieter but stable role on the 3rd, or at best 2nd, defensive pairing. Since Therrien is returning as coach next season, I wonder if Pateryn will ever get a real chance with the team or if Therrien will only call upon his name in times of crisis.

Realistically speaking, there are two things that can happen. On the one hand, it is all but confirmed that Tom Gilbert will be looking for a contract elsewhere come July 1st, which leaves one spot open on defense. If so, Pateryn faces some stiff competition with Mark Barberio in the picture, who will likely be re-signed by the team during offseason, as he is a pending restricted free agent.

Mark Barberio

Newcomer Mark Barberio provides some interesting competition for Greg Pateryn. (Photo by Pierre-Paul Poulin/Agence QMI.)

The Montreal native has put up 10 points in 30 games, but what stands out the most about Barberio’s game is his play at even strength. Prior to his concussion, he ranked highest amongst Montreal Canadiens defensemen in terms of pass completions, number of plays completed during offensive rushes, and picking up loose pucks.

Pateryn and Barberio play different styles as well. The former plays a much more defensive game, with 52 blocks in 38 games, where he has a block rate of 4.9 blocks per 60 minutes of play. He also has 100 hits to add to his statistical repertoire. In contrast, Barberio’s contribution tends to be more offensive than defensive, with fewer hits (12), total blocks (18) and a lower block rate per game (2.4). With regards to turnovers, however, Pateryn has a lower takeway-to-turnover ratio at 0.39 (12 takeaways and 31 turnovers) than Barberio (11 takeaways and 19 turnovers for a ratio of 0.58). Keep in mind that Barberio has played 8 fewer games than Pateryn. Globally, Barberio seems to have the upper hand on Pateryn. If there is only one spot available next year come training camp, it may be difficult for Pateryn to outplay Barberio.

On the other hand, if the Habs find a suitor for Alexei Emelin, there will be two spots open next year, meaning that both Barberio and Pateryn will have a chance to play for the big club. Pateryn and Barberio  both deserve to be in the lineup over Emelin. It would make sense for the Habs to get rid of him and his contract. However, since Bergevin announced that Therrien is staying as coach, I wouldn’t be surprised if Emelin remains in the picture until his contract expires at the end of next season.

All in all, Pateryn stepped up when he was given the chance to this season. Given this season’s horrible descent into hell, Pateryn has played well with what what given to him. Compared to Gilbert and Emelin, he should have been on the roster a long time ago.  Will Therrien give him a chance next year? Only time will tell.


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2 Responses to Pater-in or Pater-out? Greg Pateryn’s Future with the Montreal Canandiens

  1. Oh this is another easy one for the decision making team but I still think they will get it wrong, again…..

    Lets see, big right handed defensemen, aggressively uses body to punish opposing forwards, strong stay at home style DMen, underrated heavy shot from the point. Plays smart, makes good first pass to exit the zone. Has played at all pairings and not overwhelmed playing on the top 2 defensive pairings.

    Outcome: was benched in Dec. 15 due to errant pass recovered by the Wings and winning goal scored against us. Therrien used educational method of “Healthy Scratching” him for 2 weeks before he got back in. Due to this fact that he may once or twice again have his outlet pass intercepted by the opposition and a scoring chance or goal may occur which is “tray” bad by Therrien standards. Also, does not have a FRENCH sounding name so most likely destined for the Rock or at the outside may find a comfort role as an ongoing Healthy Scratch.

    Ned Stark, Warden of the North April 17, 2016 at 5:15 am Reply
  2. The way they were resting a healthy PK and playing Emelin big minute in the nothing game at the end, seems to be showcasing him off. So possibly a trade away for something we could use. here he was a physical guy, but add big minutes to his resume, and his value goes up.
    He does not fight (plate in his head), but fighting is basically a dying trait.

    Richard Tremblay April 17, 2016 at 8:52 pm Reply

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