2014 Season Review: Matt Greene

Matt Greene Corsi, 2008-2014

Year Team GP Corsi Relative Corsi On Expected Corsi dCorsi
2007-08 EDM 46 -4.4 -8.598 -4.611 -3.987
2008-09 LA 82 2.5 3.255 1.097 2.158
2009-10 LA 75 3.7 3.372 -1.791 5.163
2010-11 LA 71 1.3 4.683 -0.014 4.697
2011-12 LA 82 1.5 11.733 3.896 7.837
2013-14 LA 38 4.0 18.675 9.063 9.612

(I left out 2012-13 because Greene played 5 games; there are also sample size issues in 2007-08 and 2013-14.)


As you can see on the chart, Greene had a rather ugly 2007-08 season in Edmonton, posting a poor Corsi number on a terrible Edmonton team. Had I known what Corsi was back then, I would not have been thrilled to see LA trade for Greene and then lock him up for five years. Fortunately, Greene has worked out about as well as could possibly be hoped. He's had issues staying healthy, but that aside, these numbers suggest a very good third pairing defenseman.

While Greene is the beneficiary of a slight zone start push (+2.8% ZS relative), his minutes aren't soft. Compared to defensemen on the first or second pairing, Greene spends more time with Stoll, Lewis, and Clifford and less with the top forwards. Over the past three years Greene has spent about 29% of his 5v5 ice time with Stoll, 23% with Kopitar, and 20% with Richards. Over the same span Drew Doughty is at 37% with Kopitar, 26% with Richards, and 22% with Stoll. This relatively low quality of teammates makes Greene's positive Corsis impressive. (This is the big reason why dCorsi likes him so much.)

Alec Martinez seems to do better with Greene than with other partners:

Martinez Corsi By Partner, 2011-2014

5v5 TOI Corsi%
With Greene 619 61.0
With Mitchell 520 56.5
With Voynov 198 63.8
With Ellerby 154 54.7
With Regehr 108 52.9
With Doughty 100 58.8

It's been suggested that Martinez/Mitchell played more difficult minutes than Martinez/Greene. I don't think this is the case. Martinez's overall quality of minutes was basically the same in 2011-12 (when he played mostly with Greene) and 2013-14 (when he played mostly with Mitchell). So that doesn't explain the better results.

I'll also note that Greene/Mitchell was attempted this year and didn't go great (52.7% in 134 minutes). We know Greene can be effective in the right situation. A pairing with another non-puckmover is not the right situation.


Thanks to Nick's work, we can quantify Matt Greene's offensive contributions this year. A microscope would be useful. Greene contributed to four scoring chances all year and carried the puck into the zone three times. Even given that he didn't play that much, those numbers are just awful. So yeah, no offense. But as I said in Doughty's review, regarding defensemen I care much more about the on-ice percentages of team shots and chances than the individual offensive contribution.

Greene was the victim of some bad puck luck this year, which is why he often found himself a healthy scratch even though he's much better than Robyn Regehr. He had a 987 PDO 5v5 because the team shot 5.31% with him on the ice (his on-ice sh%s have been normal in years past). But what probably really hurt Greene was that Kings goalies posted a .779 SV% during Greene's 97 4v5 minutes. That meant Greene allowed 4v5 goals against at a way, way higher rate than any other King. It's possible Greene was doing something wrong and leaving his goalies out to dry, but I'd bet on a sample size fluke. From 2011-13 Greene enjoyed the highest 4v5 on-ice SV% of any Kings defenseman. So it goes.

Greene also takes way too many penalties. His -14 in 38 games this year was ridiculous, although he did better in the playoffs (-5 over 20 games). It's probably inevitable; Greene will never draw many penalties, and I doubt he could stay effective in the NHL without playing a physical style and taking a bunch of them.

Finally, it should be noted that Greene has been limited to third pairing minutes for a while now, and that's an advantage. He is usually much more rested than his teammates. No one knows how Greene would do if he were asked to play 20 minutes a night. Fortunately, we probably won't find out.


This hit on Nick Leddy is my favorite Matt Greene highlight. Sadly it occurred last season so I can't use it. This hilariously blatant interference on Matthieu Perreault will have to do.

Roman Emperor Comparable: Maximian

When Diocletian came to power in 284, the empire was so chaotic that one man could not possibly rule it. He therefore adopted his friend Maximian (ruled 286-305), raised him to the rank of co-emperor, and charged him with ruling the Western provinces. It's easy to see why Diocletian chose Maximian. Diocletian was an administrative genius but had little aptitude for commanding soldiers. Meanwhile Maximian was a tough and competent soldier, intensely loyal, and completely helpless politically. Maximian couldn't handle the subtle machinations of court politics or the minutiae of economic policy. But he could bash invading Germans with a club while Diocletian told him what domestic policies to implement.

It was a happy arrangement for nearly twenty years. After Diocletian retired in 305, though, things got ugly. Maximian initially retired along with Diocletian but grew unhappy and attempted to regain the throne. Without Diocletian's guidance Maximian was a disaster, and his attempt to seize power in 310 cost him his head.

That's Matt Greene in a nutshell. Limited, but very useful with the right partner in the right circumstances. His final days with the Kings are also not going to be pretty.

Going Forward

Greene just signed a four-year extension, so presumably he'll be on the third pairing a while longer. See this article for some thoughts on his aging.


There are many valid criticisms of Greene's play, but his possession numbers were excellent in both the regular season and playoffs this year. I'll give Greene a solid B. He'd even get a B+ if we had a more precise grading scale, but that's not in the JFTC budget this year.

Grade Matt Greene's season.