Heading into the summer one of Red Wings’ GM Ken Holland’s biggest needs was to address his club’s lack of right shot defensemen.
Holland inked free agent Mike Green to a three-year, $18 million contract on July 1.
The 29-year-old, who spent parts of 10 seasons with the Washington Capitals, is well aware of the Wings’ issues on the blue line.
“I know that when we would play against the Red Wings, we would try to run plays against their left-handed guys,” Green recently told NHL.com. “Being a right guy, I’ll do my best to move the puck and get it into the forwards’ hands.”
Green is coming off one of his more productive seasons in recent years scoring 10 goals and 45 points in 72 games while averaging 19:06 in ice time last season with Washington.
The 6-foot-1, 207-pound blue liner is looking forward to a fresh start with the Wings.
“I think Detroit, they play a very puck-possession game and have some incredible players that can make some plays so I’m excited to play with these guys,” Green said. “Detroit was always a tough team to play against, especially as a defenseman. They have some skill up front and they’re very dangerous.”
Henrik Zetterberg doesn’t exactly sound heartbroken about Mike Babcock’s departure from the Detroit Red Wings’ bench.
Perhaps that boils down to hearing the sound of Babcock’s voice for a decade.
“There’s a lot of guys in here who’ve been through the same stuff for many years,” Zetterberg told MLive.com on Thursday. “I think now with the additions of Green and Richards, and the new coach, it’s given us a little fresh start. Obviously, it’s going to be a different voice behind the bench and sometimes you need that.”
Jeff Blashill replacing Babcock as head coach isn’t the only thing that excites Detroit’s verstaile captain.
The 34-year-old also praised Mike Green as “the kind of defenseman we didn’t have” and seems happy about gaining another veteran voice in Brad Richards.
Considering the Red Wings’ recent – relative – struggles (especially two straight first-round exits and just one series win since 2011-12), one might also do the math about Zetterberg’s advancing age and what may appear to be diminishing returns.
Of course, with Pavel Datsyuk possibly out for a big chunk of the regular season and Babcock gone, many will shine the spotlight of blame on Zetterberg if the slightly-new-look Red Wings sputter early on.
Dmitry Orlov didn’t play at all with the Washington Capitals in 2014-15 due to a wrist injury, but now he’s finally in a position to resume his career.
“I feel good,” he told CSN Mid-Atlantic. “I’m ready to go. My wrist is fine right now. I can shoot, I can do everything. I feel good, I feel fine and I’m ready to play. I can’t wait for the season to start.”
The 24-year-old defenseman has been practicing at Kettler Capitals Iceplex while he waits for the start of training camp. Orlov has also spent a good amount of the summer working with teammate John Carlson.
“(Orlov’s) skating great, he handles the puck just as great as he ever used to and his shot is definitely there again,” Carlson said.
Orlov, who did record three assists during a three-game AHL conditioning stint towards the end of 2014-15, is hoping to help fill the void left by Mike Green. Although he’s unlikely to match Green’s offensive contributions, Orlov might prove to be a mainstay on Washington’s third defensive pairing.