September 1, 2014

Washington Capitals re-sign D Mike Green to three-year contract extension

Mike Green during warmups at Verizon Center, May 2 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

The Washington Capitals announced Monday they have re-signed defenseman Mike Green to a three-year extension worth $18.25 million. Green, 26, recorded seven points (three goals, four assists) and was a plus-five in 32 games with the Capitals last season.

Obviously, Green isn’t getting paid for his performance over the last two injury-marred seasons. When healthy though, Green is a singular talent on the blue line, capable of putting up scoring numbers more like a second-line forward than a defenseman. The problem is keeping him on the ice.

Injuries have limited Green in three of the last four years, including his career year in ’08-’09, when he scored 73 points(31 g, 42 a) in 68 games. The last two seasons he’s been held to a total of 81 games, missing time with head, groin and hernia injuries.

The contract extension is expensive, commensurate with what a two-time Norris Trophy candidate would expect to receive on the open market and will pay Green about $1 million more than his last contract per season. But adjusting for inflation and the salary cap, this deal is actually relatively friendly for the Caps. Also, with the rash of 10-year deals lately, the Caps protected themselves with the term of the deal as well.

The three years gives Green some security too, and will let the player hit the free market again after his age 29 season. If he returns to health and re-assumes the production he saw between ’07 and ’10, he should be able to earn another multi-year deal at that point as well.

This signing leaves the Caps with just John Carlson as the lone RFA to bring under contract. GM George McPhee said Saturday at the conclusion of Development Camp he didn’t feel any pressure to get deals done with Green or Carlson, but that both parties were working to bring resolutions to the negotiations.

Press release:

The Washington Capitals have re-signed defenseman Mike Green to a three-year, $18.25 million contract extension, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today. Green will earn $6 million in 2012-13 and 2013-14 and $6.25 million in 2014-15.

“We are pleased to re-sign Mike Green to a new contract,” said McPhee. “Mike is one of the best young defensemen in the National Hockey League and is just entering his prime. He will continue to be a key part of our team moving forward.”

Green, 26, recorded seven points (three goals, four assists) and was a plus-five in 32 games with the Capitals last season. He finished the regular season ranked third on Washington in time on ice per game, skating an average of 21:02 per contest. Green missed 47 games due to injury in 2011-12. The blueliner added two goals and two assists as well as a plus-five rating in 14 postseason games with the Capitals, ranking second in points among Washington defensemen and tied for second on the team in playoff plus/minus.

The Calgary, Alberta, native has collected 251 points (82 goals, 169 assists) and a plus-62 rating in 398 career NHL games, all with Washington. He is one of just two active defensemen (Erik Karlsson) in the league to have registered a 70-point season and is the only active defenseman to have recorded two seasons of 70 points or more. Since the 2007-08 season, Green ranks fourth among NHL blueliners in points (236), second in goals (79) and his 0.77 points per game lead the league. The 6’1”, 207-pound defenseman is a two-time member of the NHL First All-Star Team and is a two-time Norris Trophy runner up. He was named to his first NHL All-Star Game in 2010-11 and was a finalist in back-to-back years (2010 and 2011) for the NHL Foundation Player Award, which is given to the player who applies the core values of hockey – commitment, perseverance and teamwork – to enrich the lives of people in his community.

Green currently ranks seventh all-time in points by a Capitals defenseman and sixth in goals. His six overtime goals rank second all-time in Capitals history behind only Alex Ovechkin (12) and his plus-62 rating ranks tied for 12th. He is one of only three Capitals blueliners to have recorded 70 or more points in a single season (Larry Murphy, Kevin Hatcher and Scott Stevens) and one of just two defensemen to have scored 30 or more goals in a single campaign (Hatcher).

Green was originally drafted by Washington in the first round (29th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. He won a Calder Cup championship with Hershey of the American Hockey League in 2006 and helped the team reach the finals the following year (2007). Green won a silver medal with Team Canada at the 2008 World Championships, recording the most points by a defenseman (12) while being named to the tournament all-star team. Green was named to the NHL Young Stars roster in 2006-07 after being named to the AHL All-Rookie Team in 2005-06 while with Hershey. Green spent a little more than four seasons with the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League (WHL) and helped Canada win a gold medal at the 2003 U-18 World Junior Championships.

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Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Nats and the Caps, and previously wrote Nats News Network and Caps News Network. Dave’s first sports hero was Bobby Dandridge. Follow Dave’s Redskins coverage on Twitter @CapitalsDSP.

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