CSNWashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2012-13 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every day in alphabetical order. Today: Mike Green
Position: Right Defense
Ht/Wt: 6-1, 207
Penalty minutes: 20
Average Ice Time: 24:51
Contract Status: 2 years remaining on 3-year, $18.25 million contract [$6 million cap hit in 2013-14]
Strengths: When he is healthy it’s hard to find a more dynamic offensive defenseman in the NHL. Green led all blue liners with 12 goals despite missing 13 games with groin issues and he ranked 17th in the league in ice time [24:51], a significant hike from the 21:02 he averaged under Bruce Boudreau and Dale Hunter last season. At the pace he set this season, Green’s offensive numbers over an 82-game season, assuming he played every game, would have been 28 goals and 33 assists for 61 points, his most since 2009-10. He was also effective in the playoffs with two goals and two assists and even on the plus-minus ledger in seven games.
Weaknesses: Having been a combined plus-80 over the previous five seasons, Green was a minus player [minus-3] for the first time since his first full NHL season in 2006-07. His confidence with the puck sometimes translates into nonchalance or carelessness and he is prone to turnovers. And there is always the threat of injury. Green has missed 96 games over the past three seasons
Memorable Moment: On May 4 at Verizon Center, Green one-timed a pass from Mike Ribeiro past goaltender Henrik Lundqvist for a game-winning, power-play goal in overtime, giving the Caps a 1-0 victory and a 2-0 series edge on the Rangers. Green also made two noteworthy comments before and after the season. After he signed his three-year contract extension last summer Green was asked if he believed he could be the dominant defenseman he was from 2008-10. “One hundred percent,” he replied, “and it will be next year.” Following the Caps’ first-round elimination by the Rangers, Green was steadfast in his belief the Caps would end their 39-year Cup drought under his watch. “We’re going to win a Cup," he said. "… With the maturity level and the experience, we're going to win. I can guarantee that."
2013-14 Expectations: Green has played a full NHL season just once in his eight-year career and that came back in 2007-08. If he can stay in the lineup and make small improvements defensively nothing should prevent him from challenging for the Norris Trophy next season while playing in a system that is pretty much designed for puck-moving defensemen like him.