Apr 13, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green (52) skates onto the ice prior to the third period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Verizon Center. The Capitals won 6-5 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Capitals Offseason: 5 Worst Contracts Part 3

Washington Capitals 5 Worst Contracts Part 3

If you’ve missed parts one or two check out my profiles of Joel Ward and John Erskine.

3. Mike Green

Mike Green is the definition of feast or famine.  On his best day, he is a terror in the offensive zone and a stalwart in the defensive end but on his worst, he is a turnover-prone train-wreck that looks lost on both ends.

It is for this reason that this contract is a disaster so far.  Mike Green is the ninth highest paid defenseman in the league and that price tag demands more consistency.

When you consider that both Karl Alzner and John Carlson signed for $6.8 mil combined,  it just makes Green’s $6mil per year look worse.

Now the one redeeming factor is that if Green is healthy and playing at the level he reached consistently from 2008-2010, he may yet deliver value.

However, as of right now, he has not been worth his deal and is yet another example of paying for past production instead of future production.  The highs of those years were an outlier and were unsustainable.

This led the front office to believe that they didn’t need to address the concerns on defense in the hopes that Green could compensate and lift his partner to new heights. Remember that in 2009-2010, Green was able to put up career numbers with Jeff Schultz as his partner.

Schultz and Green turned those golden days into a golden parachute.  Well Sarge did anyway…

Those extensions and the success of that pairing have set the Caps back with regard to their defensive core.  Rather than addressing the defensive problems pro-actively, they were content to sit back and hope for health and a repeat of lightning striking twice.

Much to my chagrin do I recall the defenseman at the trade deadline that could have been.  In the 2009-2010 season. The Washington Capitals traded Brian Pothier, Oskar Oscala and a second round pick for Joe Corvo.  Keep in mind that for a similar price Dennis Seidenberg was available.

Don’t even get me started on the utter lack of disregard and undervaluing of second round picks during our “window of opportunity”.  FYI, from 2010-2012, the Caps traded all three of their second rounders for the haul of Corvo, Eric Belanger, and Jason Arnott.

But back to Corvo: for whatever reason, the Capitals management have over-valued the “puck-moving defenseman who can anchor the powerplay” and have thus missed out on some less-flashy defensemen for the high-risk, high-reward style of Corvo and Dennis Wideman.

The Caps would be much better off with a solid, physical, defensive defenseman to pair with Green or Carlson and properly slot their pairings.  This should have been a priority for the Capitals and should remain a priority if they hope to make a run in the playoffs.

There are a lot of ifs surrounding Mike Green: if he stays healthy, if he gets back to his elite level, if he improves his defense.

You don’t pay $6mil for ifs.  Not if you want to be an elite team in the NHL.

Look at Green’s cap comparables.  Green doesn’t seem like that bad an option compared to Dennis Wideman (dodged a bullet there),  James Wisniewski, or Dan Boyle.

But again, this isn’t about talent level.  Everyone knows the talent is there.  The difference is consistency and two-way play.

If you gave me the choice of Mike Green at $6mil or Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, or Keith Yandle for cheaper, the smart decision is to take any of the latter, sentimentality for Greenie aside.

Green can still grow into this contract and make himself worth $6 mil a year.  The problem is that they have already paid him $6 mil for the last two.

As an aspiring elite team, the Caps can’t afford to pay on potential.  They must pay on results.  It’s time for Green to prove his worth.

Many fans have called for the Capitals to trade Green.  However, there is no chance that the Capitals will get fair value.  Far better,

One more year of Green and Adam Oates could be just what the doctor ordered.  Green needs to realize his potential and regain his status as an elite defenseman.

Follow me on Twitter: @fantasy_cyril or email me at [email protected]

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Tags: John Carlson Karl Alzner Mike Green NHL Washington Capitals

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