The New Jersey Devils are known for being very defensive. They built their legacy on players like Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer and Ken Danyecko along with Martin Brodeur. Being a defenseman with an N.J. on the front of your sweater means something for many in the NHL. Andy Greene is doing everything he can to put his name among those greats.
Greene has quietly become the best player on the Devils blue line over the last two seasons. He is extremely underrated when it comes to the NHL. He doesn’t have the name value that some of the others before him had, but he is working on becoming one of the better two-way defensemen in hockey.
As far as 2013-14 goes, he was one of the few bright spots on the team. On a team that went -11 on the year, he went +3. He might have been the only player that Cory Schneider and Brodeur could count on to keep players from getting breakaways against them.
Offensively, Greene had the best season of his career. He scored eight goals, which is the most he’s ever had. He was good on the back end of the powerplay. He helped lead rookies Jon Merrill and Eric Gelinas in the right direction. He led the second powerplay unit (Marek Zidlicky was amazing on the PP, so he was able to take on the first unit). There was so much that Greene brought to the offense. The Devils relied (possibly too much) on the defense to lead the forwards to goals. He took 134 shots, more than 40 over his previous career high. He did what the offense dictated.
Greene’s season breaks down as a terrible start, a great turnaround and then consistent for the rest of the season. In October, he went -4 for the month, including four separate games in which he went -2. He only scored one goal with two assists. Then in November, he posted a +6. On top of that, he also had 10 points (2 G, 8 A). During that month, he was on the ice from anywhere between 23 and 28 minutes a night. He was the team’s workhorse. With injuries to main guys like Mark Fayne, Peter Harrold and Bryce Salvador, Greene was more important than ever. He stepped up when it was needed the most.
Overall, Greene was everything you could have asked for. He had the most ice time on the team by three minutes. He did everything that Peter DeBoer needed from him. He was the team’s rock. For that, he deserves a very good grade. He established himself as the top defenseman on this team.
Season Grade: A