Norris Trophy finalists don’t really hit the free agent market very often these days, but one would think that Mike Green would be highly sought after if he did. It sounds like he’d prefer to stay with the Washington Capitals, however.
When asked by Russian Machine Never Breaks, Green said he wants to remain with the only NHL team he’s known.
“My heart is in Washington,” Green said. “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.”
Injuries are always a concern for the 29-year-old (he’s missed some time this season, too), but he’s had a standout year already. His 39 points in 61 games is his best offensive total since the 2009-10 season when, the second and last time he produced 70+ points.
Retaining Green would likely be a very costly proposition for the Caps, as one got the impression that signing Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen meant that Green’s days were numbered.
Washington has more than $20 million in cap space locked up in Niskanen, Orpik, John Carlson, Karl Alzner and Dmitry Orlov. One would imagine thta Green would get a deal that at least equals the $6.08 million cap hit he carries this season, so that would be one expensive blueline if Green returned.
The Capitals also have some other key moves to make. Most obviously, Braden Holtby needs a new deal, and he’s earned himself a big raise from his $1.85 million cap hit (even if he’s only an RFA).
The specifics make it hard to imagine Green remaining in Washington after this season, so perhaps he’ll need to weigh the benefits of staying in a familiar place versus possibly getting a much bigger payday.
At least there’s a hidden benefit to all of this: he has that much more motivation to help the Capitals make the playoffs (and then make noise in the postseason).