2015 Season Review: Matt Greene
Matt Greene, Matt blues, I'm remembering you. If this is love, I know it's true.
In 2014-15, the rugged defender didn't miss a single game. Following a pair of seasons that saw him miss considerable time with a variety of injuries, this is a pretty big deal.
Matt Greene also was able to maintain a very good scoring chance differential this year. The Kings performed better in this regard with him on the ice than they did with him off the ice. Surprisingly, this was mostly due to the Kings generating offense as opposed to suppressing it. This is also a big deal! Any time you can get a defensive defenseman that doesn't drag his team through the mud when he's on the ice, you've done well for yourself.
Unfortunately, aside from good health, this was the toughest season Matt Greene has had since he was an Oiler.
Last year, Andrew Leafman showed us that Greene has been a more than adequate bottom-pairing defenseman since joining the Kings. This season, his possession numbers took a step backwards.
Greene spent most of his season playing with either Brayden McNabb or Jake Muzzin. Though he and McNabb put up adequate numbers, McNabb's performance spiked once he was separated from Greene. Some of that is because McNabb got to spend a lot of time with Drew Doughty and Andrej Sekera, and some of it is probably the result of Matt Greene being merely an average defender.
Greene's Corsi Rel was -1.4, which makes this season the first time Greene has been a negative possession player relative to his team (over a full season, anyway) since coming to Los Angeles.
Matt Greene's offensive game was as slumberous as ever. He did manage to score 5 goals, the second best figure of his career, but his production rates were still predictably bad. Though no one expects Matt Greene to drive offense, we'd still like to see something from that spot. That the Kings don't get anything from him is far from a travesty, but still a definite wart on his game.
This one's easy. This face was one of the most memorable moments of a very tumultuous Kings season
Matt Greene is under contract through the 2017-18 season. As such, his being healthy really is quite a big deal. Given his injury history and already limited skillset, we're at the same place we were just two seasons ago when I noted that any decline from Greene would push him out of the lineup altogether.
In the time since that season review, Greene has seen himself healthy scratched on occasion. which would seem to confirm the theory. Furthermore, Greene's production did dip this season. That's either a blip on the radar or a foreboding omen.
Apprehension surrounds the Kings' defensive situation at the moment. Robyn Regehr is gone. Andrej Sekera is currently unsigned and the Kings have limited cap space (though the Kings are mulling over their options). I also expect that the Kings will not have Slava Voynov next season. That leaves Jake Muzzin, Drew Doughty, Matt Greene, Alec Martinez, and Brayden McNabb as the only bonafide NHL defensemen in the organization. Although that's a pretty strong group of players, it makes Matt Greene's contributions rather crucial. He's a fairly inexpensive defenseman that, prior to this season, has given the Kings quality at the bottom of their defensive rotation.
If Greene's 2015-16 is similar to his 2014-15 season, then the Kings will be okay. Being an average possession player on the Kings is actually a pretty high bar to clear. However, if Greene's play declines any more, the Kings could have some real trouble. It likely wouldn't sink their championship hopes, but it would make everything significantly harder than it needs to be. It's also possible that Greene bounces back to pre-2014 levels!
His worst full season as a King still wasn't very bad.
What grade would you give Matt Greene this season?