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This Offseason, the Washington Capitals Need to Find a Buyer for Mike Green

Green No Longer Worth the Money

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | Mike Green had a pretty tough start to Tuesday's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

He managed to rack up 18 penalty minutes -- in the first period. He almost singlehandedly lost the Washington Capitals the game and would have had Alex Ovechkin not singlehandedly brought them back with his four-goal effort.

Tuesday was the low point in what has been a difficult season thus far for Green. Though he is seventh on the team in points with 15, he has only one goal. Thanks to Tuesday's performance, he ranks 30th in the NHL in penalty minutes and second on the team behind only Tom Wilson. Prior to that game, Green was still fifth on the team in penalty minutes showing his stats were not overly inflated by one b ad night; he is still taking far too many penalties.

If Green continues to struggle this season, then it may be time for the Capitals to part ways with the former Norris Trophy candidate.

This is not an overreaction to one bad game, Tuesday's game rather confirmed that Green is just not the superstar player he once was and no longer worth the more than $6 million he is being paid this year.

Injuries have kept Green out for significant periods of time in each of the last three seasons. Green has only played 144 of the Capitals' 243 regular season games since playing 75 games in 2009-2010.

When Green is in the lineup, however, his offensive production more than makes up for the increase in penalty minutes and decrease in games played right? Not recently.

Green really took the NHL by storm from 2008-2010. In those two seasons he tallied 149 points in 143 games , which averages to 1.04 points per game. Since then, his production has plummeted to only 0.5 points per game.

His postseason production has dipped as well. After recording 16 points in his first 21 playoff games, Green has only 17 points in his last 36.

Green was never a great defensive player and has been a downright defensive liability at times. He was the team's worst player in the historic upset by Montreal in 2010 and was relegated to the third pairing with John Erskine in the playoffs in 2011.

Still, his offensive production always seemed to make up for his lack of defensive acumen. When he cannot produce and cannot stay healthy, what do the Capitals really have in him?

After this season, Green will have one more year on his contract worth over $6 million. That is too much money for a player who can't seem to stay healthy, can't stay out of the box, can't score, and can't defend.

With every playoff failure, the need to shakeup this roster becomes more evident. Both Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom appear untouchable, but Green is the next best thing.

Obviously there are obstacles to trading him. General managers will be aware of everything listed above which of course will lower his trade value, but even so Green remains a big-time name in the hockey world and would be a great pickup for a team wanting to excite its fan base.

Green has a modified no trade clause in his contract so the team would have to persuade him that a trade is the right move, but sometimes a change in scenery is good for a player. If Green's struggles continue, it may not be hard to convince him the grass may be greener somewhere else.

For the time being, however, the Caps can do nothing.

The team will continue to rely heavily on the power play as long as their struggles with five-on-five play persist. Even with his struggles, Green remains the quarterback of that unit. Head coach Adam Oates is great at coaching up the power play, but losing the key cog of the unit midseason would be difficult to recover from. At this point, the Capitals cannot risk their special teams' production.

If they should wash out in the playoffs yet again, however, then the Capitals will have to do something to shake things up. At this point, Green's trade value is higher than his on ice production and the Capitals should take advantage of that.

JJ Regan is a freelancer for Comcast SportsNet Washington and Baltimore and is earning his master's in journalism at American University. Follow him on Twitter @TheDC_Sportsguy

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