Revisiting the Mike Green Situation in Washington


Earlier in the season, during the Washington Capitals’ five-game losing streak, I raised the question as to whether or not it was finally time for upper management to pull the trigger on Mike Green.

Washington had allowed four or more goals in each loss, and Greenie’s numbers were on a downhill slope since the 2009-10 season. His play was declining as was his time on the ice due to constant injuries.

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But despite his low numbers over the last several seasons, I stated that the Capitals should indeed keep Green, because he was looking like the Mike Green of old and the team was clearly performing better with him on the ice.

With the trade deadline swiftly approaching – Washington could certainly use a trade to separate themselves from the gridlock in the Metropolitan Division – the same question deserves to be revisited.

Many Capitals fans are either for Mike Green staying in Washington or against it. It’s hard to find someone who says, “Eh, it doesn’t make a difference either way.” His offensive ability is either too good to pass up on, or his defensive liabilities at times is too much of a weakness for Washington to succeed.

And this season, as the Caps are just three points out of first place in the Metropolitan Division, Greenie is definitely a reason why.

Feb 1, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green (52) skates with the puck as St. Louis Blues left wing Joakim Lindstrom (10) defends in the third period at Verizon Center. The Blues won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

He’s fourth on the team in points with 32 (5 goals, 27 assists) and is on pace for his best season since that 2009-10 season when he racked up 76 points. He’s just six points shy of his point total from last season in 25 less games and leads defensemen in points per 60 minutes with 1.67 per. His +/- is also at its highest since the 2009-10 season, as he’s rated as a +7 so far this season.

What makes this even more impressive is that Green has been doing this while averaging just under 20 minutes of ice time per game for the first time since the 2006-07 season.

As a whole, Washington is ranked seventh in the NHL in goals allowed per game (2.43). And while you cannot take anything away from Braden Holtby, who is having a career year as I pointed out last month, a healthy Mike Green has certainly helped, along with the additions of Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen.

The Capitals have certainly had their difficulties at times this season, but are clearly better than they were last season. There are a number of factors for this, and one has been the health and play of Mike Green.

So no, Caps fans, it’s not time to trade the defender.

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