Player evaluation: Greene
This season: 82 games, 4 goals, 11 assists, plus-4 rating.
The good: Greene could step into any era of the NHL and fit in nicely. He brings good size and strength but also thinks the game well and doesn’t take an excessive number of penalties, particularly for someone who plays as tough a game as he does. It’s difficult to put into words how valuable Greene’s penalty-killing is to the Kings. He can stay on the ice for the entire two minutes, if necessary, and while he doesn’t always look graceful out there, he’s usually extremely effective. Greene even showed a scoring touch this season, with a career-high 15 points, and was a “plus’’ defenseman for a fourth consecutive season.
The bad: There are no secrets in Greene’s game. He’s a big, physical, stay-at-home defenseman who thrives in a third-pairing situation while playing roughly 16-to-17 minutes per game. Greene’s game is built around managing opposing players through physical play. He’s not fast, and when he happens to make the wrong read or get beat — it happens to all defensemen at some point — his lack of foot speed causes him to get exposed. Greene is 29, which isn’t old by any standard, but his body has taken a lot of on-ice abuse in 6 1/2 NHL seasons. He’s a warrior, but how will his body hold up in the coming years?
Going forward: Greene has two more seasons left on his contract, and that’s a good thing for the Kings, because there’s no obvious replacement in the organization for the mixture of physical play and leadership that Greene brings. The Kings have their formula for success with Greene. He will continue to be a penalty-kill stalwart and, assuming injuries don’t push him into a bigger role, continue to play limited-but-important minutes in a third pairing with Alec Martinez. Greene’s team-first attitude is a big part of the Kings’ identity, and he figures to fit into an identical role in 2012-13.