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With the NHL Trade Deadline just a few weeks away, teams around the NHL will be scouting out potential acquisitions that could help bolster their chances of making the playoffs, or in some cases, selling off veteran players to begin a rebuild. The Capitals’ front office is no different and arguably, the most glaring need for the Capitals is another veteran defenseman to bolster their blueline. One player that has been brought up in conversations amongst fans and pundits is former Caps defenseman Mike Green, who is the Detroit Red Wings’ most valuable trade chip. But should the Caps consider a reunion with Green?
When Green departed the Capitals nearly three years ago on July 1, 2015, one of the biggest reasons for it was the team’s recent signings of Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen (a right-handed defenseman like Green), and the fact that Green was without a doubt, the most-coveted free agent blueliner. Now in the final year of a three-year, $18 million contract with the Red Wings, Green would be an interesting acquisition for the Caps, if they were to truly make a push. But is a reunion with the former first-round pick a good idea?
In his heyday with Washington, Green was arguably, the best offensive defenseman in the league and consistently put up points as part of a high-flying Capitals team. Now 32-years old, Green’s game has become more balanced. In 50 games played this season, Green has scored five goals and added 21 assists for 26 points, with a minus-5 rating, while averaging 22:35 minutes a night for a struggling Red Wings team. While Green’s defensive game has never been as good as his offensive game, he is currently averaging 2.4 defensive point shares (the number of points contributed by a player due to his defense).
While the Caps’ defense hasn’t been terrible this season, there’s no doubt that Madison Bowey and Christian Djoos, the two rookies who have seen regular playing time this season, have had their fair share of struggles this season as they adjust to the NHL. And while they have held up okay, it wouldn’t hurt to add a veteran defenseman to give the blueline some stability and to allow the youngsters to continue to develop.
While the Capitals know what Green can do, and vice versa (Green played one season under Capitals’ Head Coach Barry Trotz in his final season in D.C.), there are some obstacles that could prevent such a reunion from happening. Perhaps the biggest is cap space. The Capitals have just $1,217,476 in available cap space, per CapFriendly, meaning the Red Wings would have to retain some of Green’s salary in order to make a trade work, and/or the Caps would have to send a player with a substantial cap hit in return.
While re-acquiring Green makes sense in a lot of ways, there are also some roadblocks that would make a trade unattainable. What do you think Caps fans? Should the Caps consider a reunion with Mike Green, should they look elsewhere for defensive help, or are you satisfied with their current defensive situation?
By Michael Fleetwood