Mike Green has given the Washington Capitals a decade’s worth of service, playing 575 regular season games which garnered him two second-place finishes in the Norris Trophy voting, awarded annually to the league’s top “defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.”
“The Caps have made it clear that they’re not interested in Green coming back in this point in time,” his agent, Craig Oster said. “With that, Mike’s aware that he’s going to be moving on and I think mutually satisfied with that decision.”
Green enters the free agent market as one of the best players available, and certainly the prize jewel among defenseman as a right-handed shot who can provide offense from the blue line at both even strength and on the power play.
He averaged just 19:06 of ice time per night last season — his lowest since his first full NHL campaign in 2006-07 — but scored 10 goals and 45 points in 72 games. The team also did better in puck possession, generating more scoring chances, shot attempts, and goals at even strength with Green on the ice.
However, Green played at a top-pair level because he was used by Coach Barry Trotz on the third pair, which allowed him to skate against softer competition than in years’ past. For example, during 2008-09, his opponents skated an average of 17.8 minutes per night at even strength. That dropped to an average of 16.9 minutes this past season.
Because of this change in usage, Green produced 8.6 point shares (an estimate of the number of points contributed by a player), his highest contribution since the 2009-10 season (13.0), his last as a Norris finalist.
After factoring in aging and recent performance, a reasonable 2015-16 estimate for Green would be between six and seven point shares skating top-line minutes for another team, a mark that would have placed him in the top 50 among all defenseman this season and in the top 25 for all right-handed blue liners.
The NHL salary cap is set at $71.4 million for the 2015-16 season, so for a team looking to garner 100 standings points during the regular season, the minimum you would expect a championship team to have, that would value Green’s performance between $4.3 and $5 million for the 2015-16 season. If he can replicate the production from this past season, he would provide $6.1 million in value, which was close to his actual cap hit for the season ($6.08 million).
However, his contract demands will likely exceed that, so the Capitals made the right choice letting him go. And now we wait to see which NHL club is willing to overpay.