Before Bobby Orr entered the NHL way back in 1966, the idea of a defenseman scoring 100 points would have been considered lunacy. After all, forwards were rarely coming within spitting distance of the century mark, and defensemen were never really used as offensive weapons. Orr, of course, changed all of that, and not only became the first rearguard to ever lead the NHL in scoring, he eclipsed the 100-point plateau an unthinkable six times.
Only four other defensemen have ever accomplished the feat (Paul Coffey, Al MaCinnis, Brian Leetch and Denis Potvin) while only Coffey did it more than once (five times).
Will we ever see another one?
First, it's only fair to take into account the greatness that was Bobby Orr, as he was simply a man among boys. During his six-year run of 100-point campaigns, the century mark was eclipsed just 16 times (not including Orr's) across the NHL.
Just as a comparison, here is the complete rundown of 100-point defensemen. (Note: "100 pts" represents the number of 100-point scorers in the league that season):
That's an impressive list, and just think of the players that aren't on it: Ray Bourque, Larry Murphy, Nicklas Lidstrom. And it's enough to make you wonder what Orr could have accomplished in the wide-open NHL that Paul Coffey played in, with an 80-game schedule every season (Orr played 80 games just once), and of course, good knees at the end of his career.
It hasn't been done since Leetch back in 1991-92, while the only players to come reasonably close were Phil Housley with 97 points in 92-93, Murphy with 85 the same season, and Bourque with 91 in 93-94. Going back to the 2000-01 season, only one defenseman has tallied 80 points (Lidstrom), while the 70-point plateau has been reached just six times: Lidstrom (three times), Leetch, Sergei Zubov, and Mike Green.
Washington's Green, it would appear, is the only current NHL blue-liner that has even a snowball's chance in hell of reaching this rare milestone. He's certainly playing for the right team, and in the right system.
This past season with the Capitals, the 23-year-old had a career-year (so far), leading all NHL defensemen with 73 points. The beauty of it? He not only had nine more points than the next closest player (Montreal's Andrei Markov), he did it in just 68 games. James Mirtle already broke it down as one of the best goal-scoring seasons by a defenseman in league history. Still in his early/mid-20's, it's possible that his best hockey is still in front of him.
If you take his 1.07 point-per-game average from '08-09 and simply multiply out to 82 games, it comes to approximately 87 points. That's at least in the 100-point neighborhood.
Should we expect him to do it? Absolutely not. That would be quite unreasonable, and kind of unfair. I imagine if he repeats what he did this past season, or simply comes close to it, the Capitals, and their fans, will be thrilled. Still, he's the best, and probably only, player to have a legitimate shot right now.