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.
On Monday, the Capitals announced defenseman Nate Schmidt would miss the next 6-8 weeks after suffering a scapular fracture while playing for AHL Hershey.
Schmidt, 23, has spent the majority of this season with the Caps, appearing in 33 games while averaging 13 minutes a night. He’d been on assignment with the Bears to get some playing time; there was a stretch from Dec. 24 to Jan. 8 where he didn’t get in the Caps lineup and was reduced to watching from the press box, which included the 2015 Winter Classic at Nationals Park.
A former standout at the University of Minnesota, Schmidt was hurt over the weekend on a hit from Milwaukee’s Chris Wagner.
The Washington Capitals will have defenseman Mike Green in the lineup for the first time this season when they visit the Boston Bruins tonight.
Green, who missed the season opener nursing an upper body injury, will make his season debut as the Capitals look to bounce back from a 2-1 shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens Thursday.
“Each day it was getting better and better and finally it’s strong enough to play,” Green told the Capitals website. “After a long summer, you’re excited to get back going. It’s a little bit deflating, but I thought the team played really well and hopefully we can build on that.”
Green is expected to be paired alongside 23-year-old defenseman Nate Schmidt.
Meanwhile there appears go be good news on the injury front for the Boston Bruins.
Top line center David Krejci skated Saturday and is expected to return to the Bruins lineup next week. According to CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty, Claude Julien called Krejci “day-to-day”.
Additionally, Gregory Campbell continues to skate, but Haggerty reports the rugged forward has yet to be cleared for contact. Campbell is nursing a mid-core injury.
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara took a stick near the eye from teammate Milan Lucic at the team’s morning skate and is sporting a welt on his face.
Chara just grabbed some snow from the ice to put in his right eye. Conferring with the trainer.
Lucic is still looking to bounce back from offseason wrist surgery. The Bruins power forward has been held pointless and without a shot through the team’s first two games while carrying a minus-1 rating.