Go Green: Why Columbus Needs Mike Green

According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green will be traded by the deadline.  He said as much on an interview Monday on Montreal’s TSN 690 Radio.

Anytime someone with the credibility and background of McKenzie speaks up, you take notice.  General Managers and upper management will also take notice.  Hopefully, the Blue Jackets have taken notice of this development.  Mike Green would be the perfect fit for this team.

A review of the current Blue Jackets roster will illustrate this point.  There are many good pieces in place, beginning with goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.  There is also a solid core of forwards, including Ryan Johansen, Nick Foligno, Scott Hartnell, and Brandon Dubinsky.  If there is a glaring need the Blue Jackets do have though, they are in need of a Top 4 defenseman.  Enter Mike Green.

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Mike Green will become an unrestricted free agent after this season. (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

Mike Green’s Current Status

Green is currently in the final year of his current contract, which was a 3-year deal with a cap hit of $6.083 million per season.  As such, he would become an unrestricted free agent after the season.  That is where things start to become interesting.

If Green is not traded by the deadline, the Capitals run the risk of losing him and getting nothing out of it.  Even more interesting is his salary.  Unless he is willing to take a major pay cut, he is probably done in Washington anyway.

Now consider the kinds of teams that would be interested in the services of Mike Green.  Playoffs teams in need of an upgrade or depth would be interested, even if it was just as a rental.  The Blue Jackets currently do not project to be a playoff team.

The other kind of team that would be interested in Mike Green would be one in which they think they can sign him to an extension.  This is where the Blue Jackets should take a good, hard look at this situation.

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Mike Green’s Impact If Signed

Green would make an instant impact if the Blue Jackets were able to sign him.  Jeremy Crowe from BS Hockey wrote an article about which defensemen the Blue Jackets should target via trade.  The first name he brought up?  Yep, it was Mike Green.

In the article, Jeremy used Hero Graphs to analyze potential defensemen that might be available.  The graphs showed usage adjusted Corsi to illustrate if the defensemen were considered Top 4.  Although Green’s salary is on the high side, investing in him would be well worth it.

Green’s usage adjusted Corsi % rates him to be a true top pair defender.  Another feather in his cap is his points/60 production.  With Green, the Blue Jackets would get the best of both worlds.  They would get a good possession player who can contribute points at a high rate.  But his impact would go much deeper than that.

Green’s Impact to Current Roster

This is where the Blue Jackets would see the most bang for their buck if they invested long-term with Mike Green.  The roster as a whole would get better.  He would 1st stabilize the defense.  Green would slot right in on the top pair, with a James Wisniewski.  Considering the other defenders slot out to be bottom 4 defenders, they would be placed in more comfortable positions.

Now consider Mike Green’s impact on someone like Ryan Murray.  Assuming he can stay healthy, Murray would be able to continue his development on the 2nd pair, while having Green mentor him.  Talk about a win-win situation.

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Players like Ryan Murray would greatly benefit from having someone like Mike Green to learn from. (Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports)

Now consider what Green would bring to the offense, especially on the power play.  Because Green is a good possession player, he has the puck more often than not.  He would have a major hand in making sure the puck gets to the likes of Ryan Johansen and Nick Foligno.  Columbus has had major difficulty at times with getting the puck out of their zone.  Green would help improve on this.

Add to that what Green would bring to an already good power play, and you see why Columbus needs to take a good look at this situation.  Green is 29 years old, and in the prime of his career.  Opportunities like this don’t come around that often.  If Columbus wants to take the next step, they need to bring in someone who will stabilize the blue line, and make everyone better.  Mike Green will do that.  Let’s see if Columbus will make it happen.