Not being able to trade Mike Green as the trade deadline approached not once, but twice was one of former Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland’s more recent mistakes.
Leave it to Steve Yzerman to continue to clean the bare cupboards he inherited before deciding to restock them with plenty of appetizing ingredients than Ken Holland in recent years failed to locate. The Detroit Red Wings sit with an embarrassing nine wins on the season as they hope for some much-needed lottery luck this summer.
The often injured Mike Green isn’t hurt at the moment, so this would be the perfect time for Yzerman to make a deal, and he may just have the ideal trade partner with money to spend.
Mike Green hasn’t played a full season, well, since he was 22-years old back in 2007/08. He’s struggled this season. Some due to age catching up to him but a lot has to do with playing on the worst team in hockey.
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The 34-year old right-handed defenceman could be on the move very shortly despite his career-worst minus -24 rating. He’s in the final year of his deal that pays him $5.35 million against the cap. Sure, that’s a lot of money for an offensive defenseman with just 2 goals and 7 points in 32 regular-season games. Again, a lot of this has to do with playing on a team that struggles to find goal scoring.
The good news is; he’s a rental, and the Red Wings have already paid just over a third of his contract this season. Green is averaging 21:24 time on ice this season. He will drastically benefit from playing as a third pairing defender that comes out on the power-play. He should be playing 17 or 18 minutes/night. He’d be much more effective in that role on a good team rather than playing as a number two defender on a terrible team.
Detroit needs a team to agree with that adage and be willing to add Mike as a rental. The Red Wings shouldn’t expect much in return for Green, but if they can land another young player or a mid-round pick, it’s well worth it as Green won’t be a candidate to be resigned by Detroit at seasons’ end.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are in dire need of a defender, but they have absolutely no money to spend. GM Kyle Dubas has the Leafs so tight against the cap they will only roster 18 players at times to stay under the cap. Rule them out.
It’s the Chicago Blackhawks that come to the forefront of my mind. They’ve recently placed veteran defensemen Brent Seabrook and Calvin de Haan on injury reserve. Both of those defenders are not expected to return this season.
Mike Green seems like he’d be a perfect fit in Chicago who field a relatively young group of defenders aside from Duncan Keith. Green would be the Hawks’ best option to anchor the point as a right-handed shot on the power-play.
Forward Alexander Nylander or goaltender Collin Delia seem like two players Steve Yzerman could be interested in exchange for Green. Delia is 7-5-3 in 18 career games. Detroit needs to search for a goaltender with some upside playing alongside Jonathan Bernier next season. Detroit may take a flier on a 25-year old goaltender who is locked up through the 2022 season at just $1-million per.
Nylander is a talented forward at just 21-years old has yet even to scratch the surface of what he may develop into. He’s achieved 5 goals and 14 points in 39 games this season in Chicago. He’s also under contract until the end of next season before he becomes a restricted free agent.
Chicago has shown interest in Andreas Athanasiou this season. Perhaps the Red Wings could package Green and Athanasiou in a deal for pending RFA Dominik Kubalik and Nylander? Kubalik has recorded 11 goals, totaling 18 points in 38 games this season in the windy city. He’s a 6’2, 24-year old forward who was initially drafted by the Kings in the 7th round of the 2013 NHL Draft.
Chicago is currently just five points out of the final wild-card spot in the West. They may be interested in making a run.