Now that it’s June, we might as well start talking about the elephant in the room: will the Caps re-sign Mike Green this summer?
Or, more accurately, does anyone want to see my meltdown if they don’t?
Before I put my head in an oven like Kate Winslet in The Holiday, please read this hilarious RMNB piece: “Year End Review: Mike Green.”
Fidget will become a restricted free agent on July 1. If this is new to you, read the rules here. Basically the Caps have to make a “qualifying offer” equal to his $5 million/year salary to retain his rights. Mike can wait to see what other teams might bid, then the Caps have the option to match it. If Mike doesn’t stay, the Caps would get draft picks as compensation from wherever he goes.
Mike doesn’t want to leave
me DC. He told CSNWashington: “Absolutely, I love it here,” he said. “This is a great organization, a great city and I believe that we’re going to win a Cup here and I want to be a part of it.”
He’d better say that.
The story will come down to what the Caps are willing to pay. Mike had a couple of killer seasons, including back-to-back Norris Trophy nominations and the standing record for longest goal-scoring streak by a d-man (8 games). The last two years he’s struggled with injuries, a more defensive system, increasingly skinny jeans and falling down.
People love to blame Mike for everything, and I get it (sometimes). It’s frustrating when key guys don’t produce. If that were a song, the Caps could play it during pre-game skate. He is not alone in the doghouse, but it is expensive to feed him at this rate.
Alas, here are the top 25 paid defensemen for last season [link]. Mike is #25. Recent contracts to guys like Duncan Keith ($8 mil/yr) and Brent Seabrook ($7 mil/yr) have seen prices skyrocket for elite defensemen. Shea Weber went to arbitration last summer and got $7.5 million, just to be an RFA again this year. They’ll be printing money with his face on it.
The last two years, these guys are out of Mike’s league. He hasn’t been an impact player. Accident or incident? Who knows. But two/three years ago, Mike was right up there. He’s still only 26 – Doughty (22) is the only d-man on the list who’s younger. Do the Caps gamble on keeping their Young Guns together for the promise of another run? That requires more question marks, like ‘Has Ovi turned a corner?’ and ‘Will Semin be Sasha Fierce every day?’ (Semin’s an unrestricted free agent, and that’s gonna get ugly.)
There’s also the fact that the Caps have &#%@ all else on the blue line. Put Karlzner aside (iCarly is an RFA too – get paid, son!). Who are we left with? The stonewall defense pairing of Jeff Shultz and Dmitry Orlov? Hamrlik and Wideman? Wideman’s a UFA, don’t plan on seeing him in October. Unless the Caps have their eye on another defenseman to fill Mike’s skates, this squad couldn’t stop the WUYS Kickball Team.
Blergh. I obviously believe in Mike. Am I an eternal optimist or a sucker for a lost cause? When he’s good, he’s so, so good. Confidence and the consistency of regular play are the keys for Mike. Right now, I want to grab him and shake him and make him write a list of ten things he likes about himself. A full season can turn him around and he is worth $5 million, damn it!
If the Caps won’t take the chance on Mike, someone else will. Let’s hope that day never comes – I won’t be the only one hitting a low point.