Mike Green only averaged 19:06 of ice time last season, down more than three minutes from his previous season.
But that reduction wasn’t really a reflection of his play. It was the additions of Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik in free agency. There are only so many minutes to go around, and the Caps also had to give John Carlson and Karl Alzner their time.
Despite Green playing less, he actually saw his production increase, from 38 points in 70 games in 2013-14 to 45 points in 72 games last season. Only 15 NHL defensemen had more points than Green did. Shea Weber and Duncan Keith also had 45 points, and they played more games and received far more ice time.
But the Caps had to make a tough decision. If Green wasn’t a top-four d-man on their team, they couldn’t pay him like one. So he signed with Detroit for three years and $18 million.
Green’s departure leaves the Caps with a top four of Orpik, Carlson, Alzner and Niskanen, with a potential bottom pairing of 24-year-olds Dmitry Orlov and Nate Schmidt. (KHL veteran Ilya Nikulin could reportedly be on his way to D.C., too.)
The Washington Capitals announced that they have signed a two-year, $1,625,000 contract extension with defenseman Nate Schmidt.
Schmidt’s deal is one-way and will pay him $750,000 next season and $875,000 in 2016-17. That works out to be an annual cap hit of $812,500.
The 23-year-old defenseman was never drafted, but he excelled at the University of Minnesota. In 2012-13 he was part of the All-WCHA First Team after leading all defensemen with 41 points. He finished in a tie for third among NCAA blueliners in the scoring race in the subsequent campaign with 32 points in 40 contests.
He had a goal and four points in 39 contests in 2014-15 with Washington. He also recorded three goals and six assists in 19 AHL contests.
With Schmidt locked up, the Capitals now have six blueliners inked to one-way deals. Mike Green, John Erskine, and Tim Gleason are eligible to test the unrestricted free agent waters this summer.
A quick look at what games will be on what channels in tonight’s Stanley Cup playoff action…
Rangers at Capitals, 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN
The New York Rangers visit the Washington Capitals in the lone game on the NHL schedule tonight.
The Caps will look to bounce back from a poor start in Game 2, which left them trailing 2-0 after 20 minutes. Washington has won all three games following a loss this postseason.
Washington recalled defenseman Nate Schmidt from the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears in case Tim Gleason (undisclosed) is unable to play. Gleason did not practice on Sunday.
The Rangers primary concern is shutting down Alex Ovechkin. The Caps’ captain has four goals and four assists in nine playoff games this season including three points through the first two games of the second round. It’s a welcome sight for Washington as Ovechkin had just one goal and assist in seven games during the Caps’ first round loss to the Rangers in 2013.