Defenseman's contract is for three years, $18.25m
The Capitals announced Monday they signed defenseman Mike Green to a three-year, $18.25 million contract.
Green, 26, was a restricted free agent. He could have accepted Washington's qualifying offer of one year at $3.5 million this summer or signed an offer sheet with another NHL club. Instead, the July 15 deadline to do so passed, and the two sides finalized a new deal.
The Caps keep one of their core pieces in place -- albeit a player whose past two seasons have been decimated by injury. Green, a two-time Norris Trophy runner-up, established himself as the best offensive defenseman in the sport with 68 goals and 137 assists (205 points) between 2007-08 and 2009-10.
But he had just 24 points in 2010-11 after a concussion cost him almost all of the final two months of that regular season, and he was kept out of the lineup for most of the 2011-12 season, too, thanks to a minor ankle injury and a groin tear that eventually led to sports hernia surgery. Green, who finished with seven points in 32 games, returned for all 14 Stanley Cup playoff games and performed well.
"I think they know what I'm capable of. It was unfortunate the last couple years that I've suffered from injuries," Green said. "But I believe that I'm over them now. I think I got them all out of my system. ... They know that I'm committed to the hockey team and doing the right things to be the best that I can. It's win-win for everybody."
Green is the only active NHL defenseman with two 70-point NHL seasons under his belt. And in one of them he played in only 68 games, an astonishing 1.07 points-per-game total from the blueline. Since the 2007-08 season, Green ranks fourth among NHL blueliners in points (236) and second in goals (79), and his 0.77 points per game lead the league. He was drafted by Washington 29th overall in the first round in 2004 and ranks seventh all time in points and sixth in goals among Caps defensemen. Can he get back to that magical 70-point mark again?
"A hundred percent and it'll be next year," Green said. "Absolutely. There's no question about it. I feel like I'm just getting into my prime."
Green was granted a small raise despite those two rough years in a row. The qualifying offer of $3.5 million would have been a pay cut. Green actually earned $6 million in 2008-09 and then $5 million the last three seasons. This time he gets paid $6 million in 2012-13 and 2013-14 with a bump to $6.25 million in his final year. The salary-cap hit for Washington rises from $5.25 million to $6.083 million.
"It's been pushed back, but I think that we knew that I wanted to be in Washington and they wanted me back," Green said of contract negotiations. "So there was time to wait. But I'm glad it's done with now."