For teams looking to add a defenseman before the 2018 NHL Trade Deadline on Feb. 26, Mike Green of the Detroit Red Wings has earned top consideration.
Green is drawing comparisons to Kevin Shattenkirk, the headliner of the 2017 NHL Trade Deadline class. Shattenkirk was acquired from the St. Louis Blues by the Washington Capitals on Feb. 27, 2017.
Each is a scoring-focused defenseman, primarily used in the offensive zone and on the power play while other pairings kill penalties and handle top opponents. Like Green, Shattenkirk is a right-handed shot, and was on the final year of his contract at the time of the trade.
With the Capitals, Shattenkirk had two goals and 12 assists for 14 points in 19 regular-season games. In the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he had a goal and five assists for six points in 13 games when the Capitals were eliminated in the Eastern Conference Second Round.
The comparison between the two isn't perfect.
Green is 32 and Shattenkirk was 28, Shattenkirk's scoring rate is higher on the power play, and Green has been shifted into a different role during the past two seasons.
Video: DET@NYI: Green ties it late on redirection
At his peak, Green was the better offensive player. He scored 31 goals with the Capitals in 2008-09, making him the only defenseman to score more than 30 goals in a season since Kevin Hatcher had 34 for Washington in 1992-93.
In 2008-09 and 2009-10, Green was named a First Team All-Star and finished runner-up in each season in voting for the Norris Trophy. During those two seasons, he scored 149 points (50 goals, 99 assists) in 143 games, 34 more points than any other defenseman.
Shattenkirk made his debut the following season in 2010-11 and has the edge in scoring since.
Green has 240 points (69 goals, 171 assists) in 459 games, which ranks No. 24 among defensemen and is 0.52 points per game. Shattenkirk, now with the New York Rangers after leaving Washington as a free agent, has 321 points (73 goals, 248 assists) in 536 games, which ranks No. 11 and is 0.60.
Shattenkirk's scoring advantage during that time comes on the power play. At even strength, Green and Shattenkirk are almost even (0.299 to 0.296). With the man-advantage, Shattenkirk's scoring edge is 0.295 to 0.224.
In terms of usage, Shattenkirk and Green have been deployed similarly. In 2016-17, at the time of the trade, Shattenkirk ranked fourth on the Blues with an average of 16:22 per game at even strength, 0:22 killing penalties and 3:07 on the power play. He was starting 57.42 percent of his even-strength shifts in the offensive zone, highest among Blues defensemen.
Green has been assigned the same role for much of his career. In 2015-16, his first season in Detroit after signing as a free agent, he ranked fourth with 16:51 per game at even strength, 0:08 killing penalties and 2:46 on the power play. He had a zone-start percentage of 69.61, the highest among NHL defensemen to play at least 20 games.
Green was transitioned into the No. 1 role in Detroit as the roster started to change. During the past two seasons, he has averaged 20:01 per game at 5-on-5, which ranks sixth among NHL defensemen.
Video: DET@CHI: Green fires home a scorching one-timer
This tougher role has taken a toll on Green's shot-based metrics. In 2015-16, Detroit outshot opponents 1,097-891 when he was on the ice at 5-on-5, for an SAT of plus-206 that ranked No. 13 among NHL defensemen. In percentage terms, Detroit's share of shot attempts rose from 50.57 percent to 55.18 when he was on the ice, for a Relative SAT of plus-4.61 that ranked No. 17 among defensemen who played at least 20 games.
Since Green was moved into the No. 1 role, his SAT of minus-199 is tied for No. 239, and his Relative SAT of minus-1.02 is tied for No. 158 among defensemen who played at least 20 games.
These results suggest that Green can handle a No. 1 role when necessary but is most effective when assigned a scoring-focused role like Shattenkirk. In that capacity, he should match Shattenkirk in every regard, except power-play scoring.
Shattenkirk's trade also provides a clue as to what Detroit may be expecting in return for Green. St. Louis received forward Zach Sanford, a first-round pick, plus two conditional picks for Shattenkirk.
That package isn't without precedent; it's almost exactly what the Toronto Maple Leafs obtained from the Boston Bruins for defenseman Tomas Kaberle at the 2011 NHL Trade Deadline.
The Red Wings may be expecting similar to trade Green, who can be an unrestricted free agent July 1.