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Slapshot Fantasy

Mike Green No Longer One of the Best on Fantasy Blue Line

When Mike Green signed with the Detroit Red Wings in the 2015 offseason there were plenty of fantasy managers who figured it was finally time to take his name off of their short list on draft day. That skepticism didn’t keep Green from going as the 113th average pick across the three major fantasy hockey providers according to fantasypros.com.

Countless fantasy managers looked back at his years of brilliance on Washington’s power play on draft day and were hoping that Green would find a way to stay healthy (something that he has struggled with throughout his career) and galvanize Detroit’s man advantage.

At a certain point in a fantasy draft you enter the rounds where you start taking chances. A power play specialist that scored 18 goals on the man advantage in 2008-09 appeared to be a good gamble to plenty of managers on draft day.

The former Capital has managed to stay healthy for the most part and has chipped in with 12 power play points on Detroit’s top unit, but the 30 year old defender has gone from a leading fantasy blue liner to one of fringe value. The electricity that made Green a force on Washington’s defense appears to be gone from his game.

Not sharing the ice with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom has dragged Green’s assist production way down, especially on the power play. What stands out most from his statistics last year is just how much his plus-minus is hurting playing on Detroit’s second pair with Brendan Smith. When Niklas Kronwall returns from injury there is a chance that Green’s situation might improve marginally, but there is no escaping the fact that he is going to score almost exclusively on the power play and that his plus-minus rating will suffer for it.

Something that is curious about Green’s first season with the Red Wings is that he’ll surpass his hit total from last year, which gives his value in leagues that credit hits a nudge in the right direction. But Green’s physicality and respectable workload of around twenty minutes a night for Detroit aren’t enough to redeem the fact that he is well outside of the top fifty fantasy defensemen in value in standard scoring categories.

What is most damaging to Green’s value is the fact that he has just four goals to his name and that he is currently a minus-10 on Detroit’s blue line. With Kronwall missing as much time as he has this season, Detroit has been desperate for offense from their blue line and Green simply hasn’t produced in the way that the Red Wings were hoping. Detroit’s 2.50 goals for per game rate is by no stretch of the imagination on Green’s shoulders alone, but he certainly hasn’t been part of the solution to his team’s goal scoring woes.

Green’s nine even strength goals last season with the Capitals were the most he had scored since 2009-10, but his power play production was almost completely limited to assists. This season with the Red Wings, on the man advantage Green has scored three goals and nine assists. His production has taken another step down after bouncing back briefly last season and it appears that the dynamic Mike Green that was the nightmare of so many penalty killing units is now a thing of the past.

On draft day next fall, Green is a player that should be looked at only as the final defender on your fantasy roster and little else. Being on the wrong side of 30 and trending down in production is not a good mix for a puck-moving “offensive defenseman”.

With that said, special attention should be paid to what Detroit’s offense (especially at even strength) looks like when Kronwall gets back and the team gets healthy. If Green’s plus-minus rating starts to turn around, he could be a player of some value down the stretch as the fantasy hockey playoffs approach.

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