A year later, Ducks defenseman Brandon Montour facing challenges
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Rarely does a young player’s career trajectory head straight upward. Times of struggle and hardship often come with periods of advancement for most in the developmental stage.
Brandon Montour is now dealing with his first full run through the complete NHL schedule. Not surprisingly, there have been challenges for the Ducks defenseman to learn from and move beyond between moments of success.
The rough night he had against Toronto on Monday illustrates the path to being a reliable defender – every night can be ragged and contain landmines. Montour came out of the Ducks’ 7-4 loss to the Maple Leafs with a grisly minus-4 rating.
It was much easier for him to assess his season in the hours before an inglorious 17-plus minutes when he was on the ice for five goals against.
“It’s been good,” Montour said. “Obviously it’s different. A learning experience. Each game is different. You get to learning about how tough it is playing every other day and you know how busy the schedule is.
“Not even on the ice. You’ve just got to really focus on what you do off the ice too.”
There were few expectations to deal with last season. Montour made the leap from the American Hockey League and played so well over his 27 regular-season games that it earned him regular duty and healthy minutes in three rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
His combination of fluid skating, puck-moving ability and a cannon of a right-handed shot made Ducks general manager Bob Murray feel more comfortable about parting with veteran Sami Vatanen – a defender with similar traits – in order to get center Adam Henrique.
An offensive-minded defender, Montour has had to be patient when it comes to opportunities on that side of the puck. Points came freely early in the season as he had […]