Matt Niskanen

UFA of the Day: Mike Green


Check PHT every day until June 30 for a new pending unrestricted free agent of the day. Today’s UFA of the Day is…

Mike Green

Leaving Washington isn’t what he wants to do; however, it was reported last week that that’s what he’ll probably do.

Green is coming off a productive season with the Caps, one in which the 29-year-old defenseman finished with 10 goals and 35 assists. Also notable was his ice time. He averaged just 19:06, considerably less than the 22:44 he logged in 2013-14, before Washington signed Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik.

There’s reason to believe his first choice will be a team with a reasonable shot at winning a championship, something he failed to do in seven postseason appearances with the Caps.

“I want to win the Cup,” he said in May. “It’s not about money.”

The challenge he’ll face is finding a contender with both the need and the cap space.

“I think players of Mike’s ability, age, productivity, right shot, all of the positive things that Mike does on the ice is very rare when they get to unrestricted free agency,” his agent, Craig Oster, told the Washington Post.

Detroit has long been rumored as a potential landing spot. However, it’s worth noting that, in February, Red Wings GM Ken Holland said that adding a right-shot d-man for the power play no longer seemed necessary, given his team was doing just fine with the man advantage. Also, it was Mike Babcock who pushed Holland the hardest for more right-shot defensemen, and you may have heard he’s not there anymore.

If not Detroit, who might take a run at Green?

One team that may make sense is Anaheim. The Ducks are coached by Bruce Boudreau, who knows Green well from their time together in Washington. The Ducks also struggled on the power play last season, finishing 28th in the league. Plus, they cleared some cap space by trading James Wisniewski.

Click here for more UFAs.

Caps d-man Kundratek signs in KHL

Washington blueliner Tomas Kundratek has signed with Latvian-based KHL club Dinamo Riga, the team announced on Friday.

Kundratek, 25, has appeared in 30 games for Washington over the last four years, though none in the last two — he’s been playing exclusively for the Caps’ AHL affiliate in Hershey, scoring 27 points in 55 games last year.

Originally selected by the Rangers in the third round of the 2008 draft, Kundratek was acquired by Washington in 2011 and was a semi-regular fixture during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign, scoring seven points in 25 games.

From there, he was gradually bumped down the defensive depth chart — especially last summer, when the Caps inked d-men Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik to lengthy deals. Kundratek also suffered a torn ACL while playing for Hershey, an injury that stalled his progression.

Ehrhoff likely headed to free agency


Christian Ehrhoff’s agent said his client is probably done with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“For the moment I would suggest he’ll be available come July 1,” Rick Curran told PHT on Wednesday, the same day news of Ehrhoff’s house listing ran on Realtor’s Celebrity Real Estate page,

Ehrhoff, 32, signed a one-year, $4 million deal with Pittsburgh last July, not long after Buffalo bought out the remaining seven years of his 10-year, $40 million contract.

The signing came with significant fanfare. GM Jim Rutherford said it was a “good day,” adding that Pittsburgh was “very fortunate” to land the coveted offensive d-man, who’d generated plenty of interest. Many pundits thought Ehrhoff would fit in nicely, replacing some of the offense lost with Matt Niskanen signing in Washington.

But things didn’t go as planned. Ehrhoff’s offensive production was slow at the beginning of the season (though he did log big minutes, and played a steady top-four role.) In the second half of the year, concussion issues derailed his campaign; the German rearguard only played six games over the final three months of the season, missing 33 games all told.

Ehrhoff was then held out of Pittsburgh’s opening-round playoff loss to the Rangers.

“[Ehrhoff] just hasn’t been progressing,” head coach Mike Johnston said midway through the series, per “That’s the step that’s been taken and it’s because he’s sort of flat-lined in his recovery and will be progressing from there.”

PHT emailed Curran for an update on his client’s health, but did not receive a reply.

Update: Curran tells the Post-Gazette that Ehrhoff “has been given a clean bill of health.”

Ehrhoff’s health will certainly play a role in how much interest Ehrhoff garners on the open market. While he’s no longer the offensive producer he was in Vancouver a few years ago — he scored 44 and a career-high 50 points with the Canucks in 2009-10 and ’10-11 — Ehrhoff, when healthy, remains a capable puck-mover that averaged nearly 22 minutes last year.

As for the Pens, this move could suggest they’ll try and retain veteran d-man Paul Martin. Martin proved a dependable presence in the wake of all the injuries on defense last year, and averaged nearly 25 minutes per night against the Rangers.

Mike Green, a pending UFA, says it’s ‘not about the money’


Caps fans still holding out hope that Mike Green can be re-signed may be buoyed by what the 29-year-old defenseman had to say today.

“I want to win the Cup,” he said, per the Washington Post’s Alex Prewitt. “It’s not about money.”

Green, a pending unrestricted free agent, has been quite open about his desire to remain with the Capitals.

“My heart is in Washington,” he said in March. “It always will be until something else happens. My focus is here. My focus is winning a championship here and giving that to the fans. As an organization, that’s what we want as a team. I’m a part of that until the day I die or retire.”

Then, in April, Green called this season’s version of the Caps “by far the best team we’ve had overall.”

Alas, Washington fell short again in the playoffs. (Thanks in part to an ill-advised penalty by Green.) And with the Caps already committed to four blue-liners through at least 2016-17 — Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik, John Carlson, and Karl Alzner — unless Green is willing to provide a big discount, it remains hard to see him back next season.

Remember also that new contracts will be needed for pending restricted free agents Braden Holtby, Marcus Johansson and Evgeny Kuznetsov. And the Caps may try to re-sign UFA Joel Ward, too.

We don’t want to read too much into this, but one Capitals player was talking today as if Green would be moving on:

Green had 10 goals and 35 assists in 72 games this season.

Petry says signing with Montreal is his first choice


“Personally, I’d love to see him back. I think he compliments our defense corps great and I think that, at his age, good defensemen like that are hard to come by.”

That quote comes courtesy Montreal’s P.K. Subban, speaking at Thursday’s end-of-year media availability about fellow blueliner Jeff Petry.

Petry, a pending UFA who came to Montreal at the trade deadline and showed very well, is thought to be at the top of Habs GM Marc Bergevin’s priority list this summer.

Turns out the Habs are high on Petry’s list, too.

Petry, 27, scored seven points in 19 regular-season games with the Habs while averaging 22:11 TOI per night, then continued that strong effort in the postseason with three points in 12 games, averaging 22:17.

It’s clear Montreal would like him back. D-men Sergei Gonchar and Mike Weaver are also UFAs — not expected to be re-signed — and while Bergevin needs to ink new deals for RFAs Alex Galchenyuk and Nathan Beaulieu, Petry could fit within Montreal’s current cap structure.

But it won’t be easy.

First, there’s a money issue — Petry made $3.075M last season and would likely see a significant raise on the open market. This year’s UFA d-man class isn’t especially deep, and it’d be hard for Petry to ignore the payday Matt Niskanen scored by going to market last summer (seven years, $40.25 million from Washington.)

Petry should also have a number of interested suitors. Chief among them would be the Detroit Red Wings, who have been on a seemingly endless search for a right-shot defenseman (Petry shoots right). What’s more, Petry is a Michigan native, a Michigan State Spartan alumni — where he was teammates with Justin Abdelkader — and the son of ex-MLB pitcher Dan Petry, who helped the Detroit Tigers win the 1984 World Series.