With Coach Dale Hunter leaving and with offensive dynamo Alex Semin apparently headed to free agency — even if he denies that's a done deal — the next significant decision for Washington Capitals GM George McPhee could be the future of defenseman Mike Green.
Green is an RFA this summer, and has been part of the Capitals' core since the lockout. (Not to mention his time modeling for Club Scarlett). He's 26 but injury prone. He's taken hits for his playoff production, but stepped up with four points in a contract postseason during 2012.
Green wants to come back to the Caps, and told Chuck Gormley of CSN Washington that he believes "we're going to win a Cup here." But as far as staying with the Caps, Gormley writes:
Under the terms of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, to retain his rights the Capitals are required to make Green a qualifying offer equal to his 2011-12 salary of $5 million. [...]
After four seasons of playing no fewer than 68 games, Green has missed 83 games the past two seasons and that could impact the term and value of his next contract. In all likelihood Green will accept only a one-year deal that will take him into unrestricted free agency at the age of 27 next year. If the Caps cannot come to an agreement with Green, they likely would receive a first-, second- and third-round draft pick, dependent on his 2012-13 salary and the rules of a new CBA.
The Capitals other RFAs include defenseman John Carlson, who is coming off his rookie deal; as well as forwards Matthieu Parreault and Jay Beagle. Along with Semin, the most significant UFA is defenseman Dennis Wideman, who stepped up into Green's role as top offensive defenseman during the regular season (23:54 TOI) but saw that time reduced during the playoffs (20:44) as Green's increased.
I've run hot and cold on Green during his time with the Capitals, but like so many of his teammates there's no question he stepped up his game in that Hunter Hockey playoff run. Unless the Capitals seek to jettison him from the core, a one-year deal seems like it's in the cards, giving him and the remaining young guns a chance at some unfinished business.