clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Case Against Andy Greene as Captain

Wednesday, Mike gave his case for why Andy Greene should be the Devils' next captain. I give the counter-argument for why Andy -- though not a bad choice -- is not the captain the Devils should name at this point.

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

I'm sure that several people will not be happy at my position on this article. I should say right off the bat that, as a Devils fan, I would be fine if the Devils selected Andy Greene as the captain because I like him, I trust him, and I am proud of him. HOWEVER...I couldn't help but realize that if I'm approaching it logically as opposed to emotionally, there are some cogs out of place with Greene as a captain. The two glaring ones are his style of play and his age.

Style of Play

I have absolutely nothing wrong with Greene's style of play. He is a defensive stalwart and offensively competent. But Shero and Hynes want a team that is fast, attacking, and supportive. Let's go through the checkboxes of that philosophy.

Andy Greene is a great defender, can get physical when he needs to, but he does not have blazing speed. He is supportive. Defensively his WOWYs dont look great as the CA60 increases with him on the ice but I think we can attribute a lot of that to his zone start numbers. Accoring to Spencer Mann's visualization of our very own Ryan's Passing Data, Andy Greene compare's very favorably to other defenders in passing effeciency. He ranks 12th of the 224 players that they've tracked in scoring chances generated via the pass.

So he is 1 for 2 in the new philosophy tenets so far. Is he attacking? He has been able to have productive offensive seasons in the past, but he is not an attacker. Many people point to his 2013-2014 season as evidence that he can be an offensive provider. A deeper look into that season shows that of his 32 points, 16 of them were second assists. That means only 50% of his points came from goals or first assists. The NHL average is 71.8% and the NHL average for a defender is 57.7%. Assuming NHL average, Andy Greene would have had closer to 27-28 points. It might not seem significant, but with that adjustment of luck, he doesn't have a 30-point season since 2009-2010.

His Corsi numbers tell a similar tale. An "attacking" team should be peppering the opposing team with shots. Take a look at Greene's On-Ice Corsi For rate lately:

Andy Greene CF60
I'm not saying this is enough to demonstrate a trend, but the NHL average is 53 so even at the high of the last couple years he was just barely above average. That is not nearly good enough for a #1 defender.

He Is Not Young

Before I get into this topic, I'd like to say that I've been hearing a lot of talk in social media and elsewhere about Ray Shero wanting to go for a young team. This isn't wrong, but I feel like people are misunderstanding exactly what his moves have been about. No GM has the ultimate goal of making a young team. That is merely the first step of a rebuild. What I'm saying is that being young is not a prerequisite for our team. Next offseason, if Shero sees a free agent that is fast, attacking, supportive and 30 years old, I don't think he would toss him in the "too old" pile. More to the point, I doubt there will be a "too old pile" for much longer.

Now, all of that being said ... Andy Greene might be too old. First, in order to know how old is too old, we should know what the average NHL captain looks like. According to Aaron Westendorf, the average age for an NHL captain is 29.6 and the average tenure for a captain is 2.9 (3.6 if you exclude the teams without captains). This means that the average age for a captain to be named is about 26. Andy Greene would be the 4th oldest player to be named captain among the active 27 captains (Brian Gionta, 38; Andrew Ference, 36; Willie Mitchell 38 all named within the past year). Furthermore, take a look at the elite teams. Many consider the Kings and Blackhawks the elite teams. Their captains, Jonathan Toews and Dustin Brown 20 and 23 respectively when named and are each now in the top 5 longest tenures captains. Another example is Sidney Crosby who has captained the Penguins to 8 40-win seasons in 9 years -- technically only captain for 7 of those years though).

There is a precedent for naming someone who fits the exact "fast, attacking, supportive" moniker that has been touted by Sherynes ... Hyro... we'll work on that name.


I get it. He's in a great position to be a mentor to the litany of young defencemen. He's been our best defender ever since Paul Martin left. He's a great lead-by-example guy. All I'm saying is that I don't see a team who is undergoing a transformation into a young, fast, attacking team naming a captain who is an old, slow, stay-at-home guy. If he is named captain, I'll understand. But I'll respect the decision just as much if he's not.

Your Thoughts?

Is Mike colossally wrong or what? Feel free to mock him for writing such a silly article. And feel free to compliment me in return. Or put your actual opinion. Whatever.