Born: Oct 12, 1985 - Calgary, Alberta
Ht/Wt: 6’1”, 210lbs
Seasons With Team: 2 (1 yr remaining to UFA, $6M AAV)
Regular Season Expectations
In his second time out wearing the Winged Wheel, Mike Green was supposed to take a step forward with Blashill’s systems and be our unquestioned #1 defenseman. This is the guy we were looking at to help guide Danny Dekeyser into his top-line role, and help mentor some of the younger kids like Xavier Ouellet, Nick Jensen, and Ryan Sproul to help turn them into NHL defensemen with offensive upside. He was going to help keep the Power Play unit clicking, facilitate quick zone exits from the defensive side and spring offensive rushes, take the burden off of Niklas Kronwall, solve world hunger, cure cancer, and do it all with an adorable newborn baby tucked under one arm at all times.
OK, maybe not ALL that. But definitely the #1 defenseman thing. And the Power Play thing. And the teaching thing. And the baby thing.
What We Got
Green started the season off well, blessing us with a hat-trick for the home opener against the Ottawa Senators and registering 7 points (3G, 4A) in the first 5 games of the season. Unfortunately, that pace would not hold all season.
He would only show up on the scoresheet sporadically for the rest of the season, going as long as 8 games between points, and missing time twice for injury. In 72 games played this season, Green would total 36 points (14G, 22A) while averaging 23:33 TOI/G to lead Detroit’s woeful corps of blue-liners. Posting 1 more point than last season (35 points total), it’s tough to say that Green took a real step forward offensively in his second year - although, considering his age and that most of the team seemed to take a step back, it could be argued that holding his ground wasn’t a bad thing.
It’s much tougher to argue “stagnation means he was good” from the perspective of the man advantage. Green was certainly our top defender with the enemy in the box, leading Detroit defenders with 10 points (3G, 7A) on the Power Play - this was even good for 4th on the team. But the Power Play struggled as a whole, converting on only 15.1% of chances this season (27th in the NHL). After garnering 20 points (5G, 15A) with the extra man last season, this year was certainly a big let-down for someone who was supposed to help us improve on our 18.8% conversion rate last season.
Defensively, it was hard to say Green had the best season, or even a good season. To start with the easy stat, Green notched a -20 rating on the campaign - second worst only to Dekeyser’s -22. His Corsi For % was an unspectacular 47.69% according to Corsica Hockey, meaning the team lost the shot attempts battle with him on the ice - he was roughly middle of the pack on the team, but good for only 148th in the NHL among defensemen who played over 500 minutes.
His Fenwick For %, measuring unblocked shot attempts, wasn’t any better among the same group - he ranked 146th, logging the stat at 47.87%. Yes, he spent lots of time with a struggling Dekeyser and faced some of the toughest competition that other teams could throw at us, but a top-pair defenseman absolutely has to post better metrics than this. But, for the record, no Red Wing in this group finished higher than 76th in Corsi For % or 69th in Fenwick For % (Nick Jensen).
It’s even largely debatable that Green was able to help other defensemen take significant steps forward this season. Danny Dekeyser looked out of his element for large portions of the season. Ryan Sproul, the supposed offensive heir apparent on the blue-line, struggled to stay in the line-up. Robbie Russo failed to earn a point in 19 games despite success in Grand Rapids. Ouellet roughly maintained his points production rate from his 5 game stint last season. Obviously, these players’ development can’t solely be pinned on Green - but, he was supposed to help.
Final Grade: C-
It’s tough to totally kill Green, as he WAS head-and-shoulders above the rest of our defensemen and really the only one who didn’t look completely out of his element on the top pair. His HERO chart from Own The Puck bears that out, as his stats over the past two seasons (plus his last season with the Capitals) bear out that he still looks like a #2 (maybe #3) guy:
Unfortunately, Green had a lot of expectations on him this time around and he largely did not live up to those expectations - but that’s life as the #1 guy on the back-end, the stakes are higher and you’re judged more harshly. It has to be taken into account that almost the entire team took steps backwards this year, but it likewise has to be taken into consideration that Green was supposed to step up and help prevent that. And, perhaps he did - maybe the fall this season would have been even more drastic without his presence. But if he did help lessen the drop-off, it was too steep a drop for his contribution to matter.
There’s no doubt that systems played a part in this as well - the coaching staff continually bungled a Power Play that had at least a decent hum to it last season. That can’t all be on Green, but as the quarterback of the top Power Play unit, he should be one of several players involved in helping coaching staff recognize and fix deficiencies and flaws in the game plan to make the unit effective. We have no way of knowing if those conversations occurred, but if they did, they were to no avail.
With next season being a contract year, Green will need to put-up-or-shut-up with regards to seeking what could end up being the final contract of his NHL career. The entire Red Wings team needs to improve, to be sure - but that has to start with improved play from the blue-line, and even THAT has to start from your #1 guy.
What Grade Should Mike Green Receive?
This poll is closed