The Detroit Red Wings defense could have been better throughout the first half as a whole. At times, the team's defensive efforts could have been better. While the team's 20-point month has left things looking and feeling much better, things were a train wreck in December.
There's something to be said about the Detroit Red Wings going out and correcting some of their flaws, but it still needs to be better if they want to get into the postseason. Defenseman Jeff Petry has been the culprit of some bad games from the first half of the Red Wings season.
Detroit's been rocking with their core of veteran defensemen, with Petry being one of them. But, at times, he's just struggled to look the part. There's a lot of blame thrown his way, but often, it's warranted with how Petry has performed. At times, he has looked lost in the defensive zone.
On top of the lack of awareness in the defensive zone that has led to countless scoring chances for the opposition, there have been some stupid penalties. Certainly, that does not help the Red Wings' efforts when they have to spend time killing off penalties.
Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jeff Petry needs to be better.
Looking at the defense core, the leaders are at the top, and Petry is not quite one of those players. Even with the Red Wings going out and putting on a masterclass in January, things need to improve if the team wants to close in on a playoff berth. Petry has been a problem with the defense core, and it has become a liability at times.
He may be buried in the bottom-pairing, but it feels like he's been sluggish in the defensive zone. It's been problematic, whether it's missing assignments, struggling with fending off the opposing rush or just taking stupid penalties. The Red Wings brought Petry to Detroit in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens last off-season, moving Gustav Lindstrom back the other way.
Petry has played in 41 games with the Red Wings, with two goals and 12 assists for 14 total points. He's at 24 penalty minutes, which may not be a ton, but it's the same as his total for all of 2022-23 in 20 fewer games during his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Overall, the stats do not look super pretty. His possession metrics could improve; his blocks, hits, and takeaways are down, as well as giveaways. Something's got to improve for Petry to prove that he has value amongst this Red Wings defense core.
Regardless of the contract situation or the fact that the Red Wings want to keep trusting their veteran defenders, it's hard to sit here while Simon Edvinsson is relegated to the minors. Petry makes mistakes, and it can dig some holes when the team is not firing at all cylinders.
When Petry took a bad penalty in January, the Red Wings were able to play on and move forward. But when the wheels fell off in December, those bad plays and penalties were costly to Detroit. Not that Petry was responsible for all of it, but I had high hopes for him, and he has underwhelmed me immensely.
Maybe it's a bit of an exaggeration to say that his performance is worthy of an "F" for a grade, but Petry has certainly not been good. On a team that can cycle seven defensemen when they're healthy, Petry is certainly far from the top of the list or near the top.