From Alzner to Wideman, we're taking a look at and grading (please read the criteria below) the 2010-11 season for every player who laced 'em up for the Caps for a significant number of games during the campaign, with an eye towards 2011-12. Next up, Mike Green.
#52 / Defenseman / Washington Capitals
Oct 12, 1985
$5,250,000 cap hit in 2011-12; RFA after 2011-12 season
'09-'10 Rink Wrap: 7.14 rating
Key Stat: The 57 games Green played between the regular season and the playoffs in 2010-11 represent the first time he has played fewer than 82 games in a season (regular season and playoffs) since his last season of Juniors in 2004-05.
Interesting Stat: The Caps' power-play (17.5% efficient on the season) had a better success rate when Green wasn't in the lineup, converting 20.8% of its chances (20-for-96) without Green and just 15.6% (26-for-167) with him.
The Good: After back-to-back seasons in which he was a finalist for the Norris Trophy (given annually to the League's best all-around defenseman), Green finally started to get noticed for his defensive play in 2010-11, well before the Caps' much-ballyhooed change to a more defensive system. Over the course of the season, only Washington's top-pair posted a better 5-on-5 GAON/60 than Green (albeit Green played against weaker competition), and one would have expected far more goals to wind up in the Caps' net when Green was on the ice than actually were scored. At the other end of the ice, Green's offense, while not "Mike Green-like," was still pretty decent, as he finished 13th in goals- and 33rd in points-per-game among defensemen. Green also drew more penalties per sixty at five-aside than any Caps rearguard (and, notably, more than Nicklas Backstrom among forwards), and was named to the All-Star team for the first time in his career.
Then came the playoffs, which Green opened with a five-game point streak in his first five games since February and finished having been on the ice for 10 Caps goals and seven opposition markers, making him the only Washington defenseman to finish in the black in that category. Despite just one assist in three games against Tampa, Green still has the second-most points-per-game in the playoffs (behind Dan Boyle) of blueliners who have played eight or more games.
The Bad: Perhaps it's unfair to consider injuries in "The Bad" section of a player evaluation, but there's likely no bigger contributor to Green's numbers falling off a cliff the way they did than his inability to get and/or stay healthy for extended periods of time. Early on it was the shoulder. Then the head. Twice. Then, finally, the hip. The result was plummeting numbers, which have also been both caused by and, to an extent, the cause of a relatively impotent Caps' power-play. Over the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons, Green average 0.35 goals per game and 1.04 points per game. In 2010-11 those numbers dropped more than 50%, to 0.16 and 0.49, respectively, his lowest rates since before Bruce Boudreau took over behind the Capitals bench. Of note, Green's shots on goal per game have dropped from 3.57 in 2008-09 to 2.73 in 2009-10 to just 2.35 this past season - thanks for everything, Chris Pronger.
To be sure, a defenseman's point totals are hugely dependent on the production of his forwards - and Green's forwards were relatively unproductive in 2010-11. But an elite power-play quarterback like Green can't hide from the downright terrible numbers the team has posted with the extra man... especially when they're worse with him in the lineup.
The Vote: Rate Green below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.
The Discussion: Green's name has been thrown around quite a bit in off-season trade scenarios, and we weighed in with our thoughts last week. But should the Caps be actively shopping Green this summer? What would it take in return to make a trade work for the Caps? Can he stay healthy, or is he breaking down? Assuming he's still here next season, what will it take for him to earn a "10"?