Putting Number Thirty In Perspective

When Mike Green's thirtieth goal of the season zipped past Joey MacDonald last night, he joined an elite group of blueliners to ever hit that milestone. And yet, it's easy - especially in a town that's blessed with the best goal-scoring forward in at least a generation - to lose sight of just how impressive Green's feat is. Perhaps by comparing the 23-year-old's 2008-09 (so far) to Alexander Ovechkin's brilliant 2007-08 goal-fest, however, we can gain some modicum of perspective.

For example, when Ovechkin hit the 60-goal plateau a year ago, he became the 19th player to do so, and the first since 1995-96. Last night, Green became only the eighth seventh rearguard to reach 30 goals in a season, and the first since 1992-93.

As far as the total number of times the feats have been accomplished, there have been 38 60-goal seasons by forwards (11 since the 1980s), and only 17 30-goal seasons by defensemen (two since the '80s) in the League's storied history.

And in terms of per game production, Ovechkin's dominant 2007-08 season saw him post the 33rd-best goals-per-game (minimum 60 games played) ever by a forward; Green, so far this season, has the sixth-most goals-per-game a blueliner has ever had.

There are other eye-popping stats to consider with respect to Green's season (with a plus-24 rating, he's going to become the first defenseman to score 30 goals in a season and end the campaign with a plus rating since Paul Coffey in 1985-86, and he stands just one goal shy of the single-season mark for power-play goals by a blueliner), but the bottom line is that thirty goals for a defenseman isn't just as impressive as sixty is for a forward... it's more impressive.

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