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.