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Posted at 10:32 AM ET, 07/17/2012

Why Mike Green won’t have another 70-point season


(Tracy A. Woodward - THE WASHINGTON POST)


STATISTICAL ANALYSIS | The Capitals on Monday put their money on Mike Green being healthy for the foreseeable future, signing him to a three year, $18.25 million contract extension. Green is one of just two active defensemen (last year's Norris Trophy winner, Erik Karlsson, is the other) in the league to have registered a 70-point season and is the only active defenseman to have recorded two seasons of 70 points or more.

In 2008-09, Green became just the seventh defenseman to ever score 30 goals in a season, the first to do it since Kevin Hatcher (1992-93) and the youngest since Paul Coffey (1983-84). In 2009-10 he hit the 70-point plateau again, this time scoring 19 goals and assisting on 57 others.

When asked Monday whether he can reach that mark again, Green was certain he would. “Absolutely, there’s no question about it. I feel like I’m just getting into my prime.”

Green’s confidence aside, will he actually post another 70-point season? Not likely, but it has nothing to do with his skill as a player or his health.

When Green tallied 73 points four years ago, more than half of those (38) came on the power play. The year after that, 35 of his 76 points came during the man advantage. Washington had 337 and 313 power-play opportunities during those years, respectively. This past season it had just 245. The league as a whole has seen power-play opportunities go from 5.8 per game in 2005-06 to a mere 3.3 this past season. For a power-play quarterback like Green, there just aren't as many opportunities to produce points.

Green also won't be as lucky on the power play as he was during the Norris years. In 2008-09, the team shot almost 17 percent during the man advantage in a league where the average is 13 percent. Same for the following year, where the Capitals converted their power-play shots at a 15 percent clip. Green also collected points on a vast majority of those goals scored and hasn't been close since.

Season On-Ice PP Sh% PP Points collected
2007-2008 13.7% 48.8%
2008-2009 16.9% 59.0%
2009-2010 15.2% 57.6%
2010-2011 8.0% 47.0%
2011-2012 13.3% 37.5%


Green will be frequent participant on the Capitals’ power play and will probably see almost three minutes per game with the man advantage. Using last season's shot volume over an 82-game season puts him on the ice for 35 power-play goals, and if he gets points on 55 percent of those, which is where he was during the Norris years, that contributes 19 points. Even if you are more optimistic and think Oates can re-tool the power play, Green can get 25 points on it and would still need another 45 points at five-on-five to hit 70. The most he had at five-on-five during the two Norris years was 41, and that was on a high-octane team that averaged almost four goals per game of total offense.

Green at six million dollars in each of the next three years is a decent risk/reward scenario, but another 70-point campaign is a longshot at best.

Follow Neil on Twitter: @ngreenberg

By Neil Greenberg  |  10:32 AM ET, 07/17/2012

 
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