Something last week caught my eye on hockey Twitter. (Did you know that's a thing?)
SportsCenter host and hockey enthusiast John Buccigross was answering some fan questions. I saw this wonderful gem pop up on my timeline.
Color me a little surprised to see Dallas as a destination for unrestricted free agent Mike Green. Green, who has played his entire NHL career with the Washington Capitals to date, does not have a new contract from them. Signs point to Green hitting the open market, and after contracts like fellow teammates Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik were signed to last summer, who could blame the 28-year-old?
However, I don't think Mike Green is a good match with Dallas.
1. There are already too many Mike Greens on the NHL roster and in the prospect system.
Mike Green has made a name for himself in the Eastern Conference as a puck-moving defenseman. He's generally the quarterback of the Washington Capitals first power play unit, averaging nearly three minutes per game on the man advantage during the regular season this year -- not unlike both Trevor Daley and John Klingberg this season for the Stars.
Green is a right-handed shooter, fitting as a piece that the front office management and coaching staff of the Stars has come out and said they want in order to balance the blueline. However, both Klingberg and Jason Demers shoot right and will be on the NHL roster next season. If we assume Klingberg is the top-pairing puck moving defenseman, then Green would have to be the second pairing puck-moving defenseman -- a spot currently filled by one Alex Goligoski (in my imaginary lineup world where guys slot into places for maximum success).
He's also basically a slightly larger carbon copy of Alex Goligoski with declining minutes the last few seasons and a more volatile shooting percentage with similar point production:
The Stars have several puck-moving defensemen in the system already (smaller-sized Julius Honka springs immediately to mind). They're looking for a minute-eating defenseman to take the tough competition, and statistically I'm not certain Green fits that profile. With his minutes declining and getting a healthy amount of power play minutes, he slots in more as a 3/4 power play specialist moving forward. And isn't that similar to what the Stars have plenty of already?
Ok, maybe there aren't any players on the Stars that would ride an orange Vespa....score one for Mike Green.
2. Is Green an upgrade over anyone on the current roster?
The answer to this one is...probably not. Green started nearly 60% of his starts in the offensive zone. Not a single player in Dallas topped 58%, with Patrik Nemeth (still a relative rookie who missed nearly the entire season due to a gruesome cut to the forearm) at 57%, the highest among any Dallas Star last season.
Lindy Ruff likes to be able to use players in any situation. Combined with the fact that the Stars are likely to have a still-relatively-green blueline next year, there just isn't those sweetheart offensive zone starts to give to a veteran guy that more than likely will be....
3. He's probably going to be too expensive.
At least, for the role I'd see Green slotted in for Dallas. He's currently carrying a $6 million cap hit on his contract. He's one of the best defensemen in ES CF% due to be an unrestricted free agent, and one of the younger blueliners hitting the market. A team looking for massive improvement to their back end will very likely shell out a pretty penny for Mike "Game Over" Green. They'll also offer him a long term which leads me to...
4. His injury history should make teams hesitant to sign him to a deal with long term on it.
Mike Green seems to have a problem staying healthy. He's missed at least 10 games the last five seasons with various upper-body and lower-body injuries. He seems to always be fighting through something. This year, he had a resurgence with the Washington Capitals after a fairly disappointing year last year. He may be through the roughest of his injury problems, as he's played more the last two years than he had the previous three. However, he plays a style that tends to put himself in harm's way and leads to missing games each year. While any player could be injured at any time, those with injury histories tend not to get healthier the longer they play.
Dallas needs an upgrade on defense, but I just don't see Mike Green as the right fit unless several similar pieces are on their way out this offseason.