Capitals Player Report Card: Mike Green
June 20, 2011 2 Comments
Stats: 49 GP, 8 goals, 16 assists, 24 points, +6, 48 PIM
Contract Info: $5,250,000 capt hit, signed through 2011-12
Scoring Chance Percentage Ranking: 15/29
Balanced Corsi Ranking: 6/29
“He is a joke of a defenseman.” “He is clueless in his own zone.” “He will never win a Norris.” “He is a playoff no-show.” I’ve heard all of these insults about Mike Green countless times, so much that I want to hit the next person who tells me this. Green’s play in the defensive zone has ranged from spotty to abysmal the last few seasons which is why he made a commitment in the off-season to become a better defensive defenseman. The result? He has improved in his play in his own zone quite a bit while his offensive numbers dwindled a bit. That wasn’t the problem I had with him this season, though. The biggest issue with Green in the 10-11 season was that he could never stay healthy and the team suffered from it.
Green played in only 49 games this season, his lowest since his rookie year and while you could attribute some of his injuries to poor condition, some of them were just unavoidable. A shoulder injury in October kept him out of a few games and so did another injury in December but what really did the damage was when he took a Brooks Orpik slapshot to the head in February that concussed him. He tried to return a few games later but was concussed again after taking a hit from Derek Stepan and he missed the rest of the season but returned just in time for the playoffs. The team’s powerplay struggled all season but it seemed to take a huge hit when Green was hurt. He is ranked in the bottom-half for scoring chances at even strength but he created 1.4 scoring chances per 2 minute powerplay, which is a pretty big contribution to lose, especially from the blue line.
There’s no doubting that Green’s presence on the powerplay is huge and he is still a big offensive threat but he had a down year by his standards. I know that his 2008-09 season was absurd and probably wont be replicated but his goals and points per 60 minutes were the lowest they have been in awhile. He also only had 5 goals and 10 points on the powerplay this season which isn’t bad for a defenseman but for him, it is.
Some good news is that Green seems to have lived up to his commitment of being a better defensive player, which is important when you log as many minutes as he does. His goals allowed per 60 minutes decreased to 2.11 and his shots allowed fell to 25.9, both are huge improvement compared to previous years. This might have something to do with him not being used as part of the “shutdown pair” as the team has another duo to use in those situations. You’ll see his quality of competition was lower than it was the past two seasons but he was given more defensive zone starts than last year. This is possibly due to a combination of Boudreau trusting him more in defensive situations and the team having more offensive options on the blue line rather than just putting Green at the point every offensive zone draw. His corsi rating was also higher than it was last year despite him shooting the puck less, which could show that he’s doing a better job of keeping the puck out of his own zone.
In a perfect world, Mike Green would have the perfect combination of both offensive and defensive instincts but things never work out that way, do they? I thought he was on his way to doing that this season before he got hurt but it’s clear that a lot of his offensive firepower was missing and even if he finished the season healthy, his point total would have likely been way lower than what most were expecting from him so I’ll give him a C on the season. Finished below my expectations but I did see some improvement in his defensive play but just about every problem with the Caps powerplay this year centered around him. Whether it was because he was hurt or not as effective as he should have been. Think it’s safe to say that we’ll be hoping for better things in 2011-12.