After injuries limited him to just five games last season, defenseman Matt Greene is expected to play a much bigger role with the Los Angeles Kings this coming season. He will especially be needed to show off his defensive prowess since the team parted ways with Rob Scuderi who returned to Pittsburgh this summer.

In the few games Greene did play in however, he was effective. While he only registered one assist during the regular season, the 30-year-old recorded five blocked shots (averaging one per game) in addition to registering 22 hits, averaging 4.4 per game which led all Kings’ blue-liners in 2013. Of course, in all fairness, not everyone will take said stat as seriously given that Greene appeared in only a fraction of the games the rest of his defensive squad did but nonetheless, it warrants hope that if he stays healthy in 2013-14, the rugged D-man will play an integral part in Los Angeles’s success this season.

Still not 100 per cent, Matt Greene played just nine games in the playoffs – but when he was healthy, he was effective.

In his nine postseason games in 2013, Greene dished out 34 hits and blocked 17 shots while he helped the Kings reach the Western Final for the second-straight year.

His 34 postseason hits were fourth among Los Angeles defenseman behind Slava Voynov and Robyn Regehr who each had 41 and Drew Doughty who led the way with 42. However, the latter three played in twice as many games last spring as Greene did.

From an offensive standpoint, Greene was a little better in the playoffs as he recorded a pair of assists while registering a +3 rating.

Besides his inability to stay healthy, the big downside to Matt Greene’s game in 2013 was his inability to record a single takeaway as opposed to his five giveaways (regular- and postseason combined). However, in my opinion, said numbers aren’t really anything to make a federal case about.

The bottom line is simple: Matt Greene needs to be much healthier in 2013-14 than he was last season and with the full 82-game schedule back, that may prove to be a bit of a challenge. With that said, it isn’t imperative for Greene to play all 82 contests but obviously the more, the better.

The Los Angeles Kings may not be pinning on their defensive hopes on him but it goes without saying, from his physical presence to his defensive capabilities, just how important Matt Greene is to his team’s back end.