Thursday, May 08, 2008

2007-08 Rink Wrap: Mike Green

From Backstrom to Steckel, we're taking a quick look at and grading the 2007-08 season for every player* who laced 'em up for the Caps during the campaign (and is still with the team) with an eye towards 2008-09. Next up, Mike Green.

Contract Status: RFA; 2007-08 salary of $850,000 ($833,333 average salary over the life of his entry deal)
Age (as of October 1, 2008): 22
NHL Seasons (including 2007-08): 2+
2007-08 Regular Season Stats: 82 games played, 18 goals, 38 assists, +6, 32 PIMs
Key Stats: Green led all NHL blueliners in goals and was tied for the NHL lead in OT game-winning goals with three (which set a team record for the most OT goals in a season).
(Un)surprising Stat: Green's 20-goal/65-point pace once Bruce Boudreau took over behind the bench would have been good for second among all NHL defensemen in points this season (and his plus-18 pace under Gabby was pretty sweet too).

The Good: Green was more than just a goal-scorer in his breakout 2007-08. He was seventh among NHL defensemen in total points (third among all Caps skaters), didn't miss a game all season, led the team in ice time, and had a robust +11 rating in 30 regular season games from February on. He set career highs in every positive stat category, scored more goals than he had at any level (well, beginning with juniors, at least), and was third among D-men in shots on goal. Green was third on the team in takeaways and stepped it up in the playoffs with a pair of huge goals in Game 1 and a Gordie Howe Hat Trick in Game 3 before being slowed by a couple of injuries.

The Bad: Green was third among all NHL defensemen in giveaways, but he made up for it with a better giveaway-to-takeaway ratio than, for example, Nicklas Lidstrom (of course, Green's decision-making still leaves something to be desired at times - see Caps/Flyers Game 2). He had the fewest blocked shots per game of any regular Caps defenseman and lost the only faceoff he took all year (hey, it's tough to find negatives for the kid's season).

The Vote: Rate Green on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential 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 Questions: How much (dollars and years) would you be willing to give Green to keep him in D.C.? What would you like to see Green work on most in the offseason? What will it take for him to earn a 10 rating next year?

If you've missed any of the previous 2007-08 Rink Wraps, click here, get caught up, and vote - polls will stay open for a while.

* And by "every," we mean every one who played more than just a handful of games.



1) No one could have foreseen Green's rapid development, especially evident after the coaching change. He easily exceeded all expectations anyone could have had. A clear 10.
2) He did it at a very opportune time for himself as he is due a very handsome raise this summer, and if the Caps try to low ball him, they may find a team with cap space eager to try to land him via an offer sheet
3) He still tends to make the occasional 'rookie defensemen' mistake, but his play in his own end was very good and his smooth fast skating proved to be a nice compliment to Ovechkin, and gave opposing teams another weapon to fear. At only 22, how much better will he become?

JP said...

He had just about the best season I could have realisitically imagined him having - he lead all defensemen in goals, had a plus-rating AND improved immensely during the season.

Greenie gets one of the three tens I plan on handing out.

Chuck G. said...

$4.5 a year for 4-5 years. I can't elaborate much more than state the numbers speak for themselves. I don't see Green declining any time soon. This should be GMGM's #1 priority (yes, even over Huet).

Kim said...

At the beginning of the season I could not have imagined what a breakout year Mike Green would have. He impressed the heck out of me.

A lot has been written and said about the team chemistry and promising future. In my opinion Mike Green contributes a great deal on both of those fronts. He seems to have the right attitude and team focus. He also appears to now have this level of confidence that gives me no reason to doubt that he will be a force for quite some time.

I think locking in Green should be one of the first things taken care of this off season. Hopefully we will hear something mid to late June (after Worlds, Cup, awards, etc. are all done).

Oh, and thanks for the explanation of why some were calling Gordon Muffins.

Rage said...

The guy is a beautiful skater. His end to end rushes are tremendous to watch. I haven't seen many guys in the NHL who are as much fun to watch skate and stickhandle as Green.

~Mark said...

I gave him a 9 only because his defensive skills didn't keep up with his offensive development (see giveaways). Otherwise, yes, Greenie was off the charts in terms of how quickly he has become so dangerous.
Pay him whatever will keep him here. To get a 10 next year, he'll have to better his offensive numbers, and really get consistently more responsible in his own end.

Mike in SF said...

The legacy of Larry Murphy and Sergei Gonchar make me appreciate Greenie so much more. It's fantastic to have a gifted offensive d-man who actually plays D and throws his body around.

Rorschach said...

Since Phaneuf got $6.5 million a year for 6 years, who's like 95% of Green offensively and far better defensively, I'd be uncomfortable giving Green more than $5.25 yearly, unless it's a crazy long term (10+ year) deal.

NS said...

gave him a 9. still a lot of small things he can work on.

one thing that always irks me: Green will glide past everyone, gets it into the offensive zone and either loses it by the goal or does not set up anyone else. maybe this is more of his teammates needing to take advantage of those sweet rushes and getting into better scoring position.

he gets a little too cute in his own zone sometimes, too.

nonetheless, great year for #52. he was a surprise star and favorite .

exwhaler said...

Green has some things to work on in his game, but he far surpassed most people's expectations for this past season.

I think the Caps will give him 5 years, at least. Good thing he's an RFA...even if another team signs him to an offer sheet, at least the Capitals can match it.

b.orr4 said...

You are so right about Green's skating ability. As I watched him lead the rush time after time and still be the first one back on defense, he reminded me of another kid I saw break into the league about 40 years ago. You may have heard of him-Bobby Orr. Now don't go crazy, Green will never be close to the player Orr was (nobody will) but he has a lot of the same flair for greatness that Bobby possessed. While Ovie is the best player on the Caps, Green may be the most exciting. He's on a track to be the leading scorer among defensemen for a lot of years and once he settles down defensively, he could be an absolute monster. In terms of contracts, I'm sure he'll command somewhere in the neighborhood of $4-4.5 million a year, but if he ever gets to July 1, that number could go way up.

pplc said...

I keep having to repeat this to myself: HE IS ONLY 22 YEARS OLD.

Caps Red Army said...

While it's nice to have a scoring defenseman around, he sometimes really frustrates me because it seems like he's more concerned with scoring than playing defense. I'd like to see him go back to basics a bit on that, because his lack of defense seems to hurt the team on occasion (particularly on the power play).

breed16 said...

Green leading a rush is a thing of beauty. I gave him a 9 only for: a.) lacking in defensive intensity; b.) disappearing from games and for stretches. Both of these things I expect to be remedied with age and experience. Dude is a baller.

I worry we are severely underestimating his dollar demands. I wouldn't be surprised if he asks for $5.5-6 million per, for 5 years. Hopefully we can meet him half-way. I wouldn't give him more than $5 million.

Caps Dreamer said...

I gave him a 9 because he still hurts the Caps sometimes as has been noted. But, Green had a great year and I also have to remind myself as pplc said, "he's only 22!" He's only going to get better and that will be fun to watch.

Brunella said...

Greener is a joy (and always a surprise) to watch and a wonderful offensive weapon to have. I have to second (or third?) that mention of his up-ice rushes. They are legendary, each and every one of them, regardless of the outcome. "There goes Mikeeeeey!!"

(I am reminded of a quote of Mo's, from one of those 'tween period interviews where what’s his name asked what Mo says to Greener about those forays:” I just tell him not to worry. To get back whenever he can." Point being, let us pause a moment in our admiration of Green to pay quiet homage to Morrisonn.)

How much (dollars and years) would you be willing to give Green to keep him in D.C.? I would give him AT LEAST a 6-year $6 mil deal. Knowing that at then end of it he’d be only 28 and I would be in agony and in deep fear of him leaving us in his absolute prime.

What would you like to see Green work on most in the off season? Ummm, let’s see . . . his Segway skills? His taste in watches? Well, I guess I’d have to say his upper body strength. Sometimes he was out-stick-handled for possession in his own corners. His initial positioning, however, served him well.

I love this guy. I wholeheartedly share his approach to the game of hockey, which is ‘ATTACK – ATTACK – ATTACK’ The only way to play this game, well to make it fun, at least, is with Aggression, with a capital “A”. It is exactly the way Greener plays and I love and appreciate him dearly for it.

Duffy said...

Hey, all --- what exactly were his injuries at the end of the playoff series? I think I read "hip pointer", but was there another one? He was not at all himself in that last, awful game.

Whatever the injuries were, he sure got well fast.

Ogre said...

Caps Red Army - I agree with you - a defenseman should have defense first almost all the time. But if you start thinking defense first on the power play, you lose the power play. On the power play, you should score a goal. That is your only objective. If the puck is intercepted, it should never be more than a breakaway/two-on-one/three on two. If it is, you weren't thinking offense first. Objectives of a d-man playing the point are to keep the puck in the zone, take a shot if there's a screen/open net, sneak in for back door plays, be the first guy back to get an iced puck, dump the puck into the corner, pass to an open man. Now, if there's a 2-1 developing, your job is to get back asap. But you shouldn't *ever* think defense first on a power play. I think that was a problem Hugs had.

I gave Greenie a 9. JP, I think there's maybe two people I'd consider giving a ten to. Green was close. Needs to work on even strength defensive skill. He's not a whoop whooper yet though. I am curious to see if my tens are the same as yours (Though, I bet one of them is for sure, and if my alphabetical ordering skills are right, we'll know about the next one tomorrow).

Also, I had a bad dream last night. Sergei Gonchar was back on our team and he was skating from behind our net and lost his footing and slid into the corner, the puck went out in front of the net, and some Maple Leaf put the puck in past Neuwirth. I remember whooping very loudly. Any Joseph's out there?

usiel said...

I gave him a 9 just because of this defensive side of his play. Great year though. Amazing how fast he has developed which is not typical. He'll get better with the Dside as times goes on but still the caps will likely need to have a defensive minded Dman paired up with him, heh.

Shaggy said...

Dont forget that this team was a lot more defensively responsible under Hanlon, if you measure by goals allowed per game.
So let's not get all wound up in the defense first mentality. Sure, it's the defenseman's first and foremost responsibility, after all, but Lidstrom and Phaneuf are Norris candidates (as should Gonch, IMO) based on their equally good offensive instincts.

bigonetimer said...

10-no doubt.

he's a foundation piece...I agree that he's a higher priority than Huet to lock up right now. My guess is 6 yr/30M

JP said...

Spot on, Ogre.

I hear what everyone's saying about his defense and agree, but will add two things: 1) he's 22 and 2) he's a risk/reward player. If you reign him in, you're going to lose a lot of offense. As long as he remains a significant net "plus," I have no problem with the raw number of turnovers (though the timing could be worked on), especially when he is making up for a lot with takeaways and nut-bustin' slappers.

Strike that very last part.

Anonymous said...

let meguess jp, huet and ovie

Anonymous said...

ha you said nut bustin

Hooks Orpik said...

Green's the closest thing to a 2008 Paul Coffey that I've seen.

He had an awesome year.

What about a contract of $25 million for 5 years. He shouldn't get Phaneuf money ($6.5m) because he's not as well-rounded and doesn't deliver thundering checks (though Phaneuf can't rush the puck quite as well). But I think Green and his agent can certainly make a case for getting north of Ryan Whitney ($4m) money.

Anonymous said...

Fuck ryan whitney

Debcapsfan said...

He's got the only goal for Canada so far today.
For every Green you have, you need a Mo or Schultz. The balance on the D is much better. We will know the Caps have the tools to make a deep run in the playoffs when they no longer have to play scrubs on D. (I consider Erskine a scrub)

Jimmy Jazz said...

There are too many holes in his defensive game to warrant anything more than 4 or 4.5/year, but if there's a guy in the league that deserves a gamble, it's Green.

Sean Hogan said...

I wrote a blog on this today:

My conclusion (direct copy/paste):
Offer him 5 years at $4 mil apiece to start, be willing to shell out as much as $5.5 mil over 6 years if he'll take it before going on the market. If he hits the market, I say it's about a 65% chance he gets priced out of the Caps' range...not because they won't shell out the money for him, but because it will be hard for them to tie up that much money for the long term (the next 4-6 years) in just 2 players.

Please check out my blog if you're a DC area sports fan! I cover the Nats/Caps/Redskins/Hokies (just the Nats and Mike Green so far, because I just started this week), but I think you'll enjoy it. Last night I featured the top 5 manliest Nationals players and will have a bunch of fun stuff that will require participation once I get my readership levels up. All I'm asking is that you take a look, and if you like it, believe in me and my potential (hey, I'm 3 years younger than Mike Green, I have tons of potential!!!) as a good blogger, a guy you can go to for all DC sports.

RandyD said...

Green exceeded all expectations - an easy 10. I knew that Green would be one of the top defensemen on the team, but in the league? Who would've thunk that? I was also impressed with his poise with the puck, and his instincts for going on the offense without getting burned (as far as I can remember). For a defensemen to do what he did at age 22 is remarkable, if not amazing, and some mistakes are to be expected.

Overall, watching Green skate is marvelous. He's a future all-star and will get better on the D-side with time.

Salary will depend on length of deal -- I suspect a 4 year deal worth around $16 mil. The team may try to lock him up for more, maybe 6 years. Does any think that Green could request arbitration?

Marky Narc said...

I gave Green a 9, only because he's still a little rough around the edges. As huge of a step forward as he took this year, he still has room for improvement (and if -that- doesn't sound scary to opposing teams, wait until I start talking about Ovie.)

This will come as no shock to anybody, but the part of his game that needs to be improved is his defensive side. Better positioning, better decision making, better puck handling - and all of these things are things that can be developed as he gets more nd more games under his belt.

However, I'm not sold on the idea that Green deserves whatever he wants. I'd like to see him locked up long term, but at the same time, I'm a little wary of giving 22 year olds the keys to the city. I know I'm in the minority here, but I think he's going to get s short (1-2 years) deal and THEN sign a much longer contract after that.

usually frustrated caps fan said...

This years rating 9 - taking into account the entire year.

$44M (Avg $5M.5/year for 8 years) He, Ovie and Backstrom are the foundation the team build on....

MrsBackstromWannabe said...

He's pretty good, especially for a defenseman. I love the way he skates, and he's really hot too! :]