It’s likely that the Edmonton Oilers will have enough cap space to add one, and only one, somewhat expensive free agent this summer. Many hope that player is a winger, Edmonton’s weakest position last season. Don’t rule out a defender, however. There are two options that really stick out, including a veteran puck-mover who once scored 31 goals in a season.
Mike Green is 32-years old and coming off of injury, but he’s a free agent this summer and still provides value for a club. The Edmonton Oilers are one of those clubs that would benefit from a guy like Green.
Why Is He Out There?:
Green signed a three-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings in the summer of 2015. It was part of GM Ken Holland’s last-stand effort to keep the Wings in playoff contention. It worked in year one, but Detroit has missed the postseason in each of the last two springs.
The Wings tried to deal Green as part of a rebuilding effort this past deadline, but an injury kept that from happening because teams weren’t willing to pony up for a player that may not have even helped them. Now, after seeing his contract expire, Green will hit the open market.
As the Wings go younger and continue to rebuild, it’s hard to see them bringing Green back for a second contract.
What Does He Do Well?:
One could argue that, from 2007 until 2010, Green was the best offensive defender in the NHL. Those days are long gone, but he’s still an effective puck-mover and can still help a team’s powerplay in the QB role.
Green played 22:05 per night this year in Detroit, proving he can still handle a top-four role when healthy. His Corsi For (per hockey reference) was 47.8% this year, down from his career mark of 53.1%.
In terms of boxcars, Green was still a .5 point-per-game player, registering 8-25-33 in 66 contests. This comes after years of 36 (14-22-36, 72 GP, 16-17) and 35 (7-28-35, 74 GP, 15-16) points with Detroit
Here’s a look at Green’s scouting report via The Hockey News.
Assets: Is a tremendous skater and a natural point producer from the back end. Can place constant pressure on opposing defenses. Packs an excellent wrister. Likes to initiate body contact. Can quarterback a power play with aplomb.
Flaws: Is somewhat mistake-prone in the defensive zone, which negates some of his overall effectiveness. Lacks some consistency and discipline to his game. Injuries have been a problem for him. Isn’t as dynamic as he used to be.
Career Potential: Veteran, mobile offensive defenseman, when healthy.
Where Will He Play/Where Should He Play?:
At this stage of his career and at this age, Green is likely best suited as a number four defender on an NHL depth chart. He’s still a top-four option, but should be playing on the second unit and handling powerplay time. The powerplay should be his bread and butter going forward.
In Edmonton, he’d slide into the second pairing alongside Darnell Nurse and would, without a doubt, get a heaping amount of powerplay time. It’s a role he is tailor made for at this point.
What Will He Cost?:
Green is coming off of a three-year deal with the Wings that paid him $6,000,000 per season. He’s no doubt getting a pay cut at his age and with the injury questions now surrounding him.
I could see Green landing a one or two year deal that pays him somewhere in the $4,500,000 – $5,000,000 range. That could be too rich for a team like Edmonton’s blood.
Giving up assets in a trade, given Edmonton’s position asset wise right now, probably isn’t the best idea this summer. It’s likely that Peter Chiarelli will have to choose between adding a winger and a defender via free agency in July. I’d bet my money on Chiarelli choosing the defender.
Mike Green seems like an ideal fit, considering he’s exactly the kind of player the club is looking for and that he’s a veteran option who also shoots right.
It’s going to come down to contract demands, but if Edmonton can snag Green at around $4,000,000 per season and shed someone like Kris Russell or Andrej Sekera, I wouldn’t be shocked if this was Chiarelli’s big move of the summer.