For all intents and purposes, Mike Green’s 10-year roller coaster ride with the Capitals is over.
With six days remaining before the July 1 start of unrestricted free agency, Craig Oster, Green’s advisor since the time he was 15, said Thursday that Green will be leaving the Capitals and marketing himself to other NHL teams beginning today.
Green, who is at the end of a three-year contract that carried an estimated $6.1 million cap hit, was never given a concrete offer by the Capitals, Oster said.
“They haven’t really come out and said there’s no way they’re signing Mike Green, but they haven’t attempted to do so, either,” Oster said. “I think the understanding is that it doesn’t work. Based on everything right now, we’re proceeding with the full expectation that Mike will be a free agent on July 1.”
With 10 goals and 35 assists, Green is coming off his best offensive season in five years despite averaging his lowest ice time [19:08] since his first full season in Washington in 2006-07. In 575 games with the Caps, Green recorded 113 goals and 247 assists for 360 points. He netted 52 power-play goals and 20 game-winners, earning the nickname “Game Over.”
Green, 29, holds the franchise record for power-play goals by a defenseman [18 in 2008-09] and established an NHL record the same season by becoming the first defenseman to score in eight consecutive games. He was named an NHL First-Team All-Star in 2009 and 2010.
Oster said he spoke with Green about ending his long career with the Capitals, who made him the 29th player selected in the 2004 NHL draft.
“Like anything else, when you have a significant change in your life that is very different than what you had before it creates all sorts of feelings and emotions,” Oster said. “In one sense Mike is a little melancholy about moving on and yet in another way he’s excited by a new challenge and a new chapter in his life.
“The biggest thing I got from Mike was that he was disappointed that they never had the success as a team that Mike would have liked to have and they expected to have in Washington. He really enjoyed his time in D.C. We were talking about it and it’s almost like graduating and moving on to your next stage of life and I think that’s what Mike is prepared for.”
Green is expected to use the next few days to reach out to teams that might be interested in signing him next Wednesday. The Detroit Red Wings, Colorado Avalanche, Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames are teams believed to be interested.
Oster said Green, who could be seeking north of four years and $25 million, wants a bigger role with another NHL team than he had this season with the Capitals, who added Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen to a top four that included John Carlson and Karl Alzner.
“I think [the Capitals] realized it wasn’t going to fit no matter what it was, unless Mike was prepared to take something different than what he’s been used to doing,” Oster said. “I think Mike made it clear he played the role that was asked of him, but that certainly wasn’t his preferred role or what he was looking forward to doing. He wanted to play more minutes; he wanted to play in more situations; he wanted more responsibility, and I think that will be a real focus of discussions we have with other teams.”
[MORE CAPITALS: The 2015/16 Capitals schedule has been released]