He doesn’t put up the stat line of Erik Karlsson, doesn’t have the size of Zdeno Chara or the shot of Shea Weber, but make no mistake about it, Andy Greene is a big part of the success the New Jersey Devils have had this season. Undrafted out of the Miami University (Ohio), Greene has been a mainstay on the backline for the Devils for the past six seasons. His point total has never exceeded the 37 points he posted in 2009-10, and at 5’11″ 190 lbs, he isn’t exactly physically intimidating. However, while the praise for Devils defensemen has generally gone to Bryce Salvador and Marek Zidlicky during the playoffs, Andy Greene and his contributions continue to be overlooked.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Andy Greene is a superstar. However, he’s the perfect workman-like player for the Devils lineup. His poise with the puck and specifically while under pressure, he’s typically able to move the puck forward, out of the zone and typically onto the stick of a teammate. He has good timing in terms of knowing when to jump into the play. A good example of this was the winning goal by Alexei Ponikarovsky in overtime last night. Take a look at the replay of the goal.
While Ilya Kovalchuk circled around back into his own zone, Andy Greene slips behind Wayne Simmonds and Daniel Briere to help create the 2-on-1 rush that led to the winning goal. Greene entering the zone pushed back Andres Lilja and helped to create the space Ponikarovsky utilized to get the shot that led to the rebound which led to the goal.
Did Greene receive anything on the stat sheet to show his contribution? No, but he definitely had an impact on that winning goal. Keep in mind, we’ve only talked thus far about Greene’s contributions on the offensive side of things while in reality, it’s on the defensive side of things where Greene truly has his biggest impact on the game. Here’s an example of another under the radar type of play that helped the Devils to a Round 1 victory.
Greene basically prevents a Panthers goal, as he neutralized the ability of Florida’s Scottie Upshall to put in the loose puck. It’s another example of a play that doesn’t hit the stat sheet, but has a major impact on the outcome of a game. It’s the type of play Greene makes pretty often and why Greene is so valuable to the Devils that how the Michigan native earned a four-year $12 million contract.
It’s just another example of how Andy Greene makes contributions that go well beyond the stat sheet. Most successful teams will need a guy like Andy Greene in their lineup. Teams that go far in the playoffs tend to have players like Greene, who do the little things teams need to win. Paired with Mark Fayne, the duo have been invaluable to the Devils in the playoffs, especially in Round 2 against Philadelphia. If the Devils are to continue on and win the series over the Flyers, you can expect Andy Greene to play a major role in it.
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