Andy Greene became the best player on the backside of the New Jersey Devils. He led the defense in minutes last season. He was also plus-12, which was six more than anyone else on the team. Was this a coming out party for Greene, or was this just a player who looked a lot better than he was in a down year?
If you take out the 2010-11 season in which he was terrible, he has quietly had a very good career. His best season statistically came in 2009-10 when he scored six goals and had 31 assists, which is more than 10 more than any other season he has had. He was plus-nine for the season and kept himself out of the penalty box.
What should be expected of Greene moving forward? Well, it seems that the Devils have named him assistant captain based on his jersey he wore at the press conference for the Stadium Series. He is signed for the next two seasons at the cap friendly number of $3 million per season (that’s the cap hit — he will make a little more cash). He isn’t the flashiest player, but he gets the job done on both sides of the ice.
He is one of those rare players who can play great five-on-five, on the power play and on the penalty kill. He is an in-between player. He isn’t necessarily an offensive defenseman like Marek Zidlicky or a defensive defenseman like Bryce Salvador — he excels at both. That is something that makes Greene really valuable. He can play at any time on the ice and help the team.
Greene will be a big part of this team for the foreseeable future. With so much youth coming up, he will be looked upon to guide them to the right way of playing. He will be looked upon to carry this defense with so many of the players having holes. He was paired with Adam Larsson last season, and they proved to be a more than formidable pair.
This season, he will most likely have to gain chemistry with a new pairing. Will he be paired with a veteran who has lost a step to make up, or a young guy to mentor? Probably going to be the latter of the two.
Greene is ready to take on a leadership role for the Devils. He is ready to bring this team back to where they expect to be. He is ready to put another Stanley Cup patch on his jersey. He is ready to show that last season was not a fluke.