Detroit Red Wings defense struggling but Jeff Petry has been alright

Jeff Petry is often Detroit Red Wings fans' scapegoat, but he's been alright.

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jeff Petry (46) handles the puck behind the net.
Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jeff Petry (46) handles the puck behind the net. / Brian Bradshaw Sevald-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Red Wings brought in Jeff Petry this off-season in a trade with Montreal. He was acquired from the Canadiens in exchange for a 2025 fourth-rounder and defenseman, Gustav Lindstrom. The long-time NHL defenseman was likely serving as a depth addition, adding some help to the defense core and experience.

When he was first acquired, there was some pushback in the Detroit Red Wings fanbase. After all, Petry is a 36-year-old defender who has seen better days. But, in all reality, he has been able to step up when needed on a struggling team. He's been the scapegoat for some, with a few bad looks, Petry gets some hate, but he's been quite alright.

I'll be the first to admit I was a bit skeptical as the season got going that Petry was going to bring much value. This comes after being a bit excited about Petry coming to Detroit. I was worried it may create a logjam for someone like Simon Edvinsson. Even though Edvinsson got a little nibble of the NHL due to some injuries, Petry still finds his way into the lineup.

He's been fine. He may not be great, but no one was expecting a Norris trophy candidate season from him. But serviceable defensive zone play and benefits on the penalty kill would be a nice bonus. Sure, he's had some holes defensively, but the entire team has made some real bone-headed mistakes in the defensive zone this year, even as of late.

Detroit Red Wings defender Jeff Petry has been quite alright.

Listen, I'm trying to give him the benefit of the doubt here. If you go on X, formerly Twitter, and search "Jeff Petry," there is not a lot of nice content there. Except, maybe for "Jeff Petry being former Detroit Tigers pitcher Dan Petry's son" content, which is almost as unbearable as the "Matthew Stafford was friends with Clayton Kershaw in high school" line that Metro-Detroit sports fans know all too well.

Petry has carved a bit of a role out, though. Even amid the skid, Petry has been able to step up at times. He has not been perfect; there are holes to the game, but he's stepped up at times for Detroit. It's something that they certainly need right now, needing all hands on deck to snap out of this funk.

Through 27 games played in 2023-24, Petry has one goal and nine assists for 10 points. It may not be much, but no one expected a ton of offense. He's contributed here and there, finding his name on the scoresheet from time to time with a helper.

While he may only be playing 18:22 a night on average, he's finding a home in the bottom-pairing for Detroit. He may be well below the team average with his Corsi rating, but as of late, there have been more times than not where he's been alright.

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