The Caps Got the Best of Mike Green

Posted August 26, 2020

(Caps Outsider)

Of all the players who played for the Caps during the Ovechkin Era, then went elsewhere and didn’t play nearly as well, Mike Green and Alex Semin rise to the top (Filip Forsberg doesn’t count).

Green, who announced his retirement from the NHL today, was drafted by the Caps and played the first decade of his career in D.C.

Naturally, we got him during his most productive years, when he scored 360 points in 575 games, good for sixth place all time. He also set an NHL record for consecutive games with a goal by a defenseman, with eight.

We typically get sentimental over players like this toward the end of their contracts, when we hold our breath to see if they will be resigned. In Green’s case, unfortunately, even Caps fans knew resigning him would be a mistake. His production was down, injuries became more frequent, and the team had extremely good defensive depth, including John Carlson, Karl Alzner, Matt Niskanen, and Brooks Orpik. Another team with more cap space and the need for a puck-moving defenseman was obviously a better fit for Green.

He ended up getting $6 million a year with the Red Wings, a raise from the $5.25 million a year he made in his previous contract with the Caps. In Detroit, his highest goal total was 14 one season, a far cry from the 31 he once scored with Washington. He was no longer a first team all star, nor a Norris Trophy runner-up.

In the business of hockey, this worked out perfectly for the Caps. Washington got him during his most productive years and got the best bang for the buck. With the Caps continuing to give big contracts to veterans, we can only hope their production remains similar or better than their past performances. But we all know that’s a risky bet. With Green, the Caps won that bet.

Best of luck, Greeny, and thanks for everything.