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.
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.
In Chicago, conversation about the cost of keeping the team together never really ends.
Having just come off a summer in which Brandon Saad, Brad Richards, Johnny Oduya and Patrick Sharp all exited due to financial constraints, the ‘Hawks can now begin looking ahead to next July, when another prized player could go unrestricted:
Seabrook, 30, is heading into the last of a five-year, $29 million deal with a $5.8M cap hit. His resume is loaded — three Stanley Cups, Olympic gold, a ’15 All-Star Game appearance — and he’s coming off a postseason in which he led all defensemen in goals (seven), the same number that Tampa Bay captain Steve Stamkos potted.
So needless to say, he’d be coveted on the open market.
There are two sides to this discussion. The first is why Seabrook would want to stay in Chicago, and it’s a fairly easy sell — it’s the only team he’s ever known, having been drafted by the ‘Hawks in the first round in ’03. He’s since appeared in over 800 games in a ‘Hawks sweater during his 10-year career, and developed a dynamic pairing with fellow blueliner (and one of his best friends) Duncan Keith.
Seabrook also has, as mentioned above, achieved a boatload of success with the ‘Hawks.
But there are reasons why he’d leave.
Well, one big reason — the money.
Per war-on-ice.com, the ‘Hawks already have close to $60 million committed to 16 players after this season. While there aren’t many other noteworthy contracts on the horizon — Andrew Shaw will require a new deal in ’16-17, Teuvo Teravainen and Marko Dano the year after — there is a question of how much Chicago can pay Seabrook.
Do consider that, a few weeks ago, Calgary gave Mark Giordano — who’s a year older than Seabrook — a six year, $40.5 million extension that carries a $6.75M cap hit. Earlier this summer, TSN speculated that Seabrook “is due to earn at least Dion Phaneuf-type money, in the neighborhood of seven years and $49 million.”
Those are both pretty steep AAVs but, given the dearth of quality UFA defensemen that usually hit the market, they could be in Seabrook’s wheelhouse. Remember that Mike Green got $6M per from Detroit this summer, while Andrej Sekera got $33 million over five years from the Oilers.
If Seabrook doesn’t sign an extension prior to the season starting, you can expect this conversation to pick up steam as the year progresses.
But why wait for that? Let’s vote and discuss now.
Capitals’ biggest question: Is this finally the year?
Of the 12 NHL teams that have never won the Stanley Cup, there may not be a more optimistic one heading into 2015-16 than the Washington Capitals.
— Alex Ovechkin just won his third straight Rocket Richard Trophy. At 29, he remains the NHL’s most dangerous goal-scorer. On top of that, the Caps appear to have found the right coach for the Russian superstar in Barry Trotz.
— The Caps also appear to have found a second-line center in young Evgeny Kuznetsov. If the 23-year-old continues to progress — and there’s no good reason he shouldn’t — Washington could have quite the 1-2 combo at center in Nicklas Backstrom and Kuznetsov.
— Defenseman John Carlson is emerging as one of the top blue-liners in the NHL. And at 25, he may get even better.
— Goalie Braden Holtby continues to post strong numbers. His .923 save percentage last season was tied with Pekka Rinne and one point better than Tuukka Rask.
Now throw in the additions of veterans T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams to go with youngsters Marcus Johansson, Andre Burakovsky and Tom Wilson, and what emerges is a roster where a glaring weakness is pretty tough to find.
OK, sure, there are concerns. Like maybe the Caps will miss Mike Green more than they think. Ditto for Joel Ward, Troy Brouwer and/or Eric Fehr. If Washington’s young players don’t step up next season, it’s hard to picture this team hoisting the Cup.
But that’s true of any team, really.
“I’d say the next three or four years is the window,” GM Brian MacLellan said in May.
Given how quickly the landscape of a young man’s league can change, it may turn out to be a shorter window than that.
The Caps have a real opportunity in 2015-16. Can they finally get it done?