PLYMOUTH, Mich. – Gordie Green is in his second full season of USHL hockey with Dubuque, and he is expected to make Miami a better offensive team in 2016-17.
At 5-feet-8, he fits the physical profile of some of the most successful points-producing RedHawks in previous years. He has signed a National Letter of Intent earlier this season, meaning he will most likely move to Oxford this summer.
Green has not produced points en masse since joining Dubuque, but he should still be able to make a significant contribution to next season’s Miami team. In 85 career games with the Fighting Saints, he has 13 goals and 21 assists for 44 points, including 13 points in 25 games in 2015-16.
The Michigan native turns 19 in February and did play a game with the U.S. Under-17 team in 2013-14.
As always when writing about FutureHawks, it’s understood that the below opinions are based on the performance in one game, which typically does not provide a completely accurate representation of the player’s abilities but normally gives a good idea of what a player brings on game night.
With that in mind, Blog Of Brotherhood visited the Team USA facility last weekend to watch Dubuque take on the U.S. National Development Under-18 Team and took a look at Green:
Height: 5-8. Weight: 179. DOB: 2/24/1997. From: Detroit, Mich.
Games: 23. Goals: 4. Assists: 9. Points: 13. Plus-minus: 3. PIM: 25.
GAME NIGHT: Green was on the second line as a right wing with the Smith brothers – Mitchell and Evan – both Yale commits and significant offensive threats. Team USA’s Griffin Luce, an impressive player at 6-feet-3 and 214 pounds, spent much of the night covering Green and did not make his life easy.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Green has substantial muscle mass for his size, filling out at 179 pounds despite being just 5-8. Like many fitting that size profile, he tries to elude defenders and set up scoring chances. He loves to forecheck and is a pest in the offensive zone as he tries to force opponents into turnovers and uncomfortable passes as they bring the puck up the ice. Green sets up in front of the net and tries to redirect shots and knock home rebounds from the slot, which is somewhat unusual for a small forward.
FIRST PERIOD HIGHLIGHTS: Fired a shot just wide after a Team USA turnover in its defensive zone…tape-to-tape pass in the offensive zone ultimately led to a scoring chance…hammered a player along the boards…on the power play, he won a battle along the end boards and connected on two passes to keep a threat alive…outskated a USA defenseman to avoid icing…stole the puck in the offensive zone but lost it…laid out a hit during a battle in front of the USA net.
SECOND PERIOD HIGHIGHTS: Earned an assist when linemate Mitchell Smith scored a bad-angle goal…great outlet pass from the defensive zone along the boards to get his team out of trouble…cleanly stole the puck in the defensive zone…logged a lot of power play time.
THIRD PERIOD HIGHLIGHTS: Excellent pass from behind his own net to spring Dubuque loose…grabbed a loose puck in traffic for a shot but missed the net…buggy-whipped a low shot that was blocked by a defenseman…turned it over in the defensive zone but USA did not generate a scoring chance.
FINAL GAME INFO: Green finished with an assist — his ninth of the season — a plus-1 rating for the Smith goal and four shots on goal.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Green’s passing ability is his most notable attribute, as he rarely misses a teammate’s stick and appears very confident in this aspect of his game, which will translate in the college game. As mentioned above, his forechecking is tenacious. Often defense is one of the last areas to develop for players in Green’s age group, and he is already ahead of the curve. While he held his own against bigger players, he didn’t thrive down low, which is probably a key reason his points total is not higher than 13. While Luce is bigger than most in the USHL, big, tough, physical forwards are what Green will face in the NCHC, so this was a good test for him. He almost seems miscast at right wing – he is more of a playmaker, as well as a solid defender, than a sniper or a net-crasher. But Dubuque is loaded up the middle, which is possibly why he’s playing on the right side. There’s also a lot to like about his compete level, his physicality and his hockey IQ – he is almost never out of position and always gets back on defense.
WHERE HE FITS IN AT MIAMI: Miami needs scoring, and Green certainly has a lot to offer in the offensive area, but the question that’s of immediate concern is: How often will he be able to put the puck in the net? He will be another guy that can move the puck on the power play and is responsible enough that he could be a fourth forward on one of the RedHawks’ units. Green may also play on the PK, although in this game Dubuque was only shorthanded once so the sample size was too small to evaluate. Again, just based on one game as well as his track record in the USHL, Green does not appear to be the next Carter Camper-Andy Miele-Austin Czarnik in terms of points, but he looks like he should generate more points than an Alex Gacek or an Alex Wideman. He is averaging a half point per game in 2015-16, which is a realistic expectation in Oxford and would put him in the 20-25 range. He seems to be an excellent fit for Miami coach Enrico Blasi’s system, which should help his transition in 2016-17. And Blasi expects all of his forwards to play defense, which Green will do, and that could earn him more ice time. He should be a solid addition in what looks to be a quality recruiting class.
GAME PHOTOS BY CATHY LACHMANN: