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Caps in ‘evaluation period’ with pending UFA Green, and vice versa

Washington Capitals v Boston Bruins

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 11 : Mike Green #52 of the Washington Capitals skates against the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden on October 11, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

Mike Green is a pending unrestricted free agent. As a result, his name has been popping up in all sorts of trade speculation, even with months to go until the March 2 deadline.

Now, the Washington Capitals could end that speculation by signing the 29-year-old defenseman to a contract extension; however, GM Brian MacLellan isn’t quite ready to commit.

And, possibly, vice versa.
“He’s had a good year,” MacLellan said today, per NBC Washington. “Coming into the year, I think he had an off year last year. I think we’re probably both going through an evaluation. Is he comfortable with his role and does he want to stay and play in that role? Are we comfortable with him in that role that he’s playing in now? Is it going to work for us as an organization, as a team? Are we going to have success with Mike Green playing where’s he playing and doing what he’s doing and is that a big part of our team moving forward?

“Just as he needs to evaluate, ‘Do I like this coach? Do I like this situation? Am I comfortable here?’ I think we’re both going through an evaluation period and we’ll come to a decision at some point.”

Green’s playing time is down slightly under new coach Barry Trotz, and it’s hard to see that changing with blue-liners Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik, John Carlson, and Karl Alzner all signed through at least 2016-17. There are other, younger blue-liners in the Caps’ system as well. And if we’ve learned one thing in the cap era, it’s that teams have to continually refresh their rosters with youth.

Which leads to perhaps the biggest question: how much can the Caps afford to offer Green? Because on the open market, with his offensive abilities, combined with the fact he shoots right (hello, Detroit and Dallas), he could get a significant offer, and with term.

For now, MacLellan wants to just “let it sort itself out, let people settle into their roles and see where we are as a team, what level we’re at.”

The Caps (7-5-3) have won three straight after going winless in five.