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Capitals breakdown: Mike Green

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Capitals breakdown: Mike Green

CSNWashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in alphabetical order. Today: Mike Green
Mike Green
Position: Defense
Age: 26
HtWt: 6-1, 207
Games: 32
Goals: 3
Assists: 4
Points: 7
Penalty Minutes: 12
Plus-Minus: Plus-5
Average Ice Time: 21:02
Contract Status: Restricted Free Agent 5.25 million cap hit in 2011-12

Strengths: Despite back-to-back injury-plagued seasons that limited him to 81 of a possible 164 games, Green is still one of the NHLs most talented and dangerous offensive defensemen. But until this season he was considered a defensive liability. Under Dale Hunter, Green was asked to concentrate on the defensive side of his game and although his numbers suffered, he and Roman Hamrlik combined to make a reliable pairing in the playoffs behind Karl Alzner and John Carlson.

Weaknesses: Is there an injury Green has not been forced to deal with over the past two seasons? After playing no fewer than 68 games in his first four seasons with the Caps Green has been sidelined by head, ankle and abdominal injuries and missed a total of 50 games this season. On the bright side, at the end of the season Green said he was feeling the best he has in years.

Memorable Moment on the ice: On May 5, Green rifled a game-winning, power-play goal past Henrik Lundqvist with 5:48 remaining in the third period, sending the Capitals to a 3-2 win that knotted the Eastern Conference Semifinals at two wins apiece. The Verizon Center exploded after the goal and Green was beaming afterwards. Its good to know I can still score, said Green, who leaped into the glass as the sellout crowd rocked the Red. Its good to get the win, bottom line, whether it was me or someone else.

Memorable Moment off the ice: For a player headed toward restricted free agency, Green sounded like someone with a vested interest in the future of the Capitals when he met with reporters following the season. This is a great organization, a great city and I believe that were going to win a Cup here and I want to be a part of it, he said. Weve been improving each year, especially this year, and I feel like were close. Were going to win it. Its just unfortunate that it wasnt this year.

2012-13 Expectations: Greens past two seasons 31 points in 81 games are a marked departure from the previous two 149 points in 143 games. But with Dennis Wideman likely to sign elsewhere, he is the Caps best offensive defenseman and will be counted on to hit the 60-point mark or better next season.

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John Carlson agrees to big-money deal to stay with the Capitals

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John Carlson agrees to big-money deal to stay with the Capitals

On Friday, the Capitals shipped out Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to clear space on the salary cap for John Carlson's massive contract extension.

On Sunday night, Carlson signed on the dotted line. 

The 28-year-old became the latest core Cap to sign a long-term deal, inking an eight-year extension that will carry an $8 million average salary. 

His cap hit is now the second highest on the team—behind Ovechkin’s $9.538 million charge and just ahead of Kuznetsov’s $7.8 million hit.

With Carlson locked up, the defending Stanley Cup champion now has the majority of its core signed through at least the 2019-20 season. Among the players with at least two years remaining on their deals are forwards Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Nickas Backstrom and Lars Eller, defensemen Carlson, Matt Niskanen and Dmitry Orlov and goaltender Braden Holtby.

The Carlson news did not come as a surprise.

The Caps wanted to keep him. Carlson, who makes his offseason home Washington, wanted to stay with the club that drafted him 27th overall in 2008. And on Friday night in Dallas, GM Brian MacLellan all but guaranteed that a deal was going to happen when he said, “We’re close and hopefully we can close the deal here over the next 24 hours.”

It ended up taking a little more than 24 hours, but in the end MacLellan got his D-man.

“John has been an exceptional and consistent player for our franchise and has blossomed into being one of the top defensemen in the NHL,” said MacLellan in a statement on Sunday. “Defenseman like John are a rare commodity in our League and, at 28 years of age, we feel he is just entering his prime.”

Indeed, Carlson notched a career-high 15 goals and 53 assists last season, and his 68 points led all NHL defensemen. He also became the eighth defensemen in Caps’ history to record 60 points in a season and the first since Mike Green accomplished the feat in 2009-10. Meanwhile, Carlson’s average ice time (24:47) also marked a career high.

“As a right-handed defenseman, John plays in all key situations and has contributed greatly to our team’s success on the special teams,” MacLellan added. “We are pleased for both parties to have come to an agreement and for him to continue his great career as a Washington Capital.”

With Carlson under contract, the Caps now have a little more than $13 million in cap space underneath the $79.5 million ceiling, according to www.capfiendly.com. Michal Kempny, Jay Beagle, Alex Chiasson and Jakub Jerabek are all unrestricted free agents, while Tom Wilson, Devante Smith-Pelly, Travis Boyd and Madison Bowey are restricted free agents.

Carlson’s signing kicks off a big week for MacLellan.

In addition to negotiating with the free agents he hopes to retain, he’s expected to have a formal interview with associate coach Todd Reirden, who is the leading candidate to replace Barry Trotz as head coach.

So buckle up, there figure to be a few more important announcements in the coming days.

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Interested teams have begun reaching out to John Carlson

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Interested teams have begun reaching out to John Carlson

Free agency does not start until July 1, but John Carlson's agent is already taking calls from other interested teams.

The interview period began at 12 a.m. on Sunday morning, which means teams are now able to reach out to any potential free agents, but no contracts can be signed until July 1. While Brian MacLellan said Friday that a new deal with Carlson to keep him in Washington was "really close," Carlson's agent, Rick Curran, has made it clear there was no deal in place yet as of Sunday.

So does this mean Carlson now has one foot out the door?

Not necessarily.

At this point in the negotiation, Carlson has a major advantage and that advantage is time. Sunday's interview period is just another way to hold the Caps' feet to the fire. The closer we get to July 1, the more pressure the team is under to get a deal done.

But the Caps still have some leverage too.

“I love it here and all that,” Carlson said during on breakdown day. “I want to stay here, but there's more to it than that.”

By rule, as his current team, the Caps are the only team that can offer Carlson an eight-year deal.

So Carlson may have turned up the heat a few degrees on the Caps, but it's not time for fans to worry just yet.

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