Despite some huge investments on the first day of free agency, Mike Green remains the highest-paid Washington Capitals defenseman, cap-hit wise. The question is: should that previous sentence include the phrase “for now”?
You never really know when it comes to “vote of confidence” quotes, but new Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said that the divisive defenseman is still part of the team’s future, as CSNWashington.com’s Chuck Gormley reports.
Still, it becomes a complicated picture when you consider the impact of former Pittsburgh Penguins defensemen Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen. Niskanen, in particular, seems to bring similar perceived strengths and weaknesses as Green.
Green, 28, only has one year left on a contract that carries a $6.08 million cap hit. That leaves his longer-term future in doubt and also makes him easy to move in a deal.
Still, he isn’t that far removed from the days when he was lighting scoreboards on fire. Green scored 31 goals and 73 points in 2008-09 and generated a career-high 76 points in 2009-10. Considering his age, the turmoil in Washington and how much the Capitals have invested in him over the years, it might be tough to cut the cord.
Then again, maybe it’s all a work in progress, really. How Orpik will fit in seems pretty open-ended at the moment:
Meanwhile, MacLellan seemed to make some not-so-forward-thinking comments defending Orpik, only to clarify in a way that should make stats-leaning Caps fans a bit more optimistic:
One more interesting note, especially if you enjoy pondering trade scenarios: MacLellan explained that Washington allowed Mikhail Grabovski to walk because they ultimately chose to add two defensemen rather than one center and one blueliner in free agency. MacLellan said he’s still looking for a center, so if that interest in keeping Green isn’t so genuine, perhaps that might be the type of asset that can pry Green loose?
A lot is in the air in this situation, whether Green is really primed to stay or not. Then again, it wouldn’t be the Caps if there wasn’t a little bit of unpredictability, right?