Detroit Red Wings Trade for Mike Green Would Be Desperate and Risky

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Detroit Red Wings Trade for Mike Green Would Be Desperate and Risky
USA TODAY Sports

Various sources including Ansar Khan at Mlive.com and Art Regner at Fox Sports Detroit are reporting that Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green is now the Detroit Red Wings’ primary trade target.

As Khan explains, Green possesses the right-handed shot that has been elevated to an almost ridiculous level of holiness in Detroit and is in the final year of a contract that will pay him $6.25 million in 2014-15.

While the Capitals still remain just a hair under the $69 million salary cap, carrying Green at that price for the 2014-15 season—having just signed free agents Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik—could be unpalatable for the Capitals.

Still, there is no abiding need to trade Green, as the Capitals can ice a full roster as-is and, as George Malik at Kukla’s Korner so soberly posits, the Capitals will want a lot more than a bag of pucks for Green in return, making the cost of acquiring him potentially prohibitive for the Red Wings.

Nevertheless, as the Detroit Red Wings’ increasingly epic quest to acquire a right-handed rearguard rolls on, it seems a matter of fate that any defender so endowed will eventually be linked to Detroit.

Speaking of fate, and speaking of Green, he very nearly was a Red Wing—kind of.

In February of 2004, the Capitals traded forward Robert Lang to Detroit in exchanged for then-prospect Tomas Fleischmann, a first-round pick in the 2004 Entry Draft and a fourth-rounder in 2006.

That 2004 pick the Red Wings gave up was used to select Green 29th overall that year.

Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

As such, if the Red Wings wanted to go ahead and throw in destiny along with his right-handed shot as the reasons they’re interested in acquiring Green, they’d be within their rights.

Still, even destiny wouldn’t make this fanciful trade any less desperate or risky than it would be in reality.

At $6.25 million per year, Green represents a significant investment on the part of the Capitals, and moving him would only make sense if they got equal value in return.

The Capitals could easily ask that some combination of a current roster player, a prospect and a pick come the other way in exchange for Green. That’s a helluva lot to give up for a player that may very well decide to jump into the free-agent pool next summer.

Were the Red Wings to give up any significant assets for Green, at this point, it would display a level of desperation and short-sightedness that would almost surely position them as the losers of the deal even before the season began.

Of course, such a deal might not look so desperate were Green not such a risky acquisition to begin with.

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Though the 28-year-old defender has proved capable of astonishing offensive output from the blue line—most notably a 31-goal performance in 2008-09—he has not played a full 82-game season in six years.

In fact, in his nine-year NHL career, Green has cracked the 70-game plateau just four times. Repeated head and groin injuries have plagued Green for the past four seasons. Although last year saw Green post 38 points (nine goals, 29 assists) and a minus-16 rating in 70 games, his reliability is far from solid.

It seems logical to assume that, all things being as they currently are in Detroit, were Green a southpaw, this entire discussion would be moot.

As such, the risk Green represents to a team that just went through a 2013-14 season that will be remembered more for its epic rash of injuries than anything else versus the reward of having a right-hand shot on defense just doesn’t square up.

*All statistics courtesy of NHL.com and CapGeek.com unless otherwise noted.

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