The case of Andy Greene

Andy Greene is a favorite among Devils fans.  He’s home grown, a good team-first guy, and appears to have a ceiling that’s still higher than he’s already gone.  Unfortunately, I only believe 2/3 of that last statement, and I’m in the minority of Devils fans because of it.  Read on for the case for and against re-signing Andy Greene.

The case FOR Andy Greene is quite simple.  The Devils are severely lacking in defense.  They especially lack a good offensive defenseman.  Since their last Cup win, their best puck-moving defenseman has gone something like this:

  • Scott Niedermayer
  • Brian Rafalski
  • Paul Martin
  • Andy Greene

Andy Greene, heck Paul Martin, does not belong in that group.  If Andy Greene or Paul Martin is your best puck moving d-man, in a system like the Devils’ system, you don’t win.  You CAN’T win.  But help is on the way in the name of Jon Merrill.  He’ll probably play out his sophomore season at Michigan and then move up to the big club.  Andy would benefit by eventually not having to be a top two defenseman, as he fits better as a guy you plug in on the middle of your unit.

The Devils most likely do not have a defenseman coming by way of the draft this season.  All signs point to Sean Couturier being a Devil.  So the case for Andy Greene really hinges on the fact that the Devils need defensemen.  The only three mainstays on the backline in 2011/12 will be Volchenkov, Tallinder, and White.  After that, there’s going to be a training camp battle for the final three regular spots.  If Matt Taormina is healthy, I imagine he’ll make the team.   After that, I’d like to see Alex Urbom take the next step, but that guy’s an enigma to me.  Andy Greene would be a mainstay if he’s willing to sign for $1.5M to $2M.  If he wants $3M-$3.5M, he’s going to get it from a GM other than Lou.  They have their money to sign Parise, and after that, there’s not much more.  Spending wise, especially for this season, is going to be huge for Lou.  Greene’s going to need to understand that.

The case AGAINST Andy Greene is a bit more complicated and a matter of my opinion  He’s simply not that good.  Too many people have said to me, “He had a bad year.  The whole team had a bad year  His ceiling is still very high.”  Unfortunately, my opinion is such that I think he crashed up through the ceiling a year ago, and will never get back to that point.  I don’t think he’s the -23 player he was this season.  But I also don’t think he’s the 37 point guy he was two years ago.  He’s not suited for the power play, he’s not great in his own zone, or at least he hasn’t been, and he’s probably not going to get any better.  So why invest $2M into a guy who’s hit his peak?  Why invest that money when you know you’ve got $11M coming off the books in a year?

If I may steal a line from Theo Epstein, the Devs should use 2011/12 as a bridge season.  A season where they strengthen their core, let youth develop, and then show up in 2012/13 ready to contend.  I just don’t see Andy Greene being a part of that plan.  Not for the money I think he’s going to want.  Heck, if I were him, I’d recognize the position the Devils are in and try to get them to overspend on me.  God knows they need defense.  Why not push them, knowing they don’t have the capital to spend big on a UFA defenseman, and knowing that they need Andy Greene more than Andy Greene needs them.

When the season starts, I think Andy Greene will be a Devil.  I think Lou likes him a lot, and I think they really don’t have much of a choice than to give him a deal, if the price is right.  I’d like to see it somewhere around $1M, but I think realistically, it’ll be around $2M-$2.5M.

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