Greene: Boom or Bust?

There has been a lot of debate about what type of NHL player Matt Greene is. Last season he went from the AHL to the NHL in a very short time, and when he got here he played to stay. Many felt he was a steal in the second round because of his ability to play at a high level so early in his career. He was a stay-at-home defenceman who had a mean streak. Very big and strong for his age. He received a lot of comparison to Jason Smith for his style of play.

But then came the '06 playoffs and all of a sudden Greene was taking more penalties than anyone else. So the debate started, some would say it was because he is so much stronger than the forwards he's playing against, others would say its to make up for his lack of skill. According to behindthenet.ca here is the quality of competition the Oiler's defenceman have been playing against (higher the number tougher the comp):

Smith 0.132

Hejda 0.123

Tjarnqvist 0.085

Smid 0.057

Staios 0.045

Greene -0.037

Now here is the +/- of each of these players:

Tjarnqvist +3

Staios -5

Hejda -6

Smith -8

Smid -12

Greene -15

So not only is Matt Greene playing against the weakest competition of our defenceman he is getting the poorest results. He is losing battles to more skilled players and he doesn't have the foot speed to make up for it. As far as I'm concerned, Matt Greene is trade bait.


Jon Ganton said...

I think that you are being a bit hard on the kid. With what the Oilers have gone through these past 10 games with injuries and horrible play you can not say that Green has always been playing against the weakest opponent. Take the 10 game skid where the Oilers have been outscored by a 37-9 margin and he is only minus -5(that is with being even in games against the lightning, ducks, sharks hardly terrible players or teams) and being plus against the blues. All this while averaging 23 minutes a game. I think he is doing pretty well.

Joe Reynolds said...

I have to agree with John a little on Greene. I think that Smith is getting old and Greene is a similar defenceman that could take his place. Greene is not going to be a top 4 guy but could be a solid 5 or 6 man. You also have to remember that he has really only played 1 year at the NHL level and is still learning the game. He is definetly not in the same league as Smid (who will become a top 2 dman in my opinion) but can be a punishing dman in the proper role with the proper coaching.

Rory said...

Yeah Greene still needs some time, if he can develop in the NHL the same way he did in college he will be a very strong d-man, but it takes longer for most defensemen (except for guys like phaneuf, who is just a freak) to develop than it does forwards, perhaps even goalies depending on the situation they are thrown into.

Josh Coates said...

Rory: Thats what bothers me, I've seen no progression in Greene's game since last season. The learning curve is plateauing. I'm sure he'll be a better defenceman in 5 years, and then even better in 10, but not by much. I'm thinking this is the Matt Greene your going to get, a physical stay at home dman who is slow and penalty hungry that will never be more than a borderline NHL defenceman. The sooner we trade him the less people will realize this and the more we'll get for him.

Rory said...

Maybe it's developing into another Poti situation, shits the bed here, gets moved a couple of times, now he is having a good year, bastard has 30 assists, tied with Ryan Smyth.