The Detroit Red Wings reeled in what they really needed: A productive right-shooting defenseman.
On opening day of free agency, they signed Mike Green to three years and $18 million. At 6-foot-1, 207 pounds Green, 29, adds size, and he’s got the offense the Wings have so badly needed to add to the back end since losing both Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski to retirement the past few years.
Green had 10 goals and 45 points and a plus-15 defensive rating in 72 games last season. He had 38 points 70 games in 2013-14, and 26 points in 35 games in 2013. He has played a full season only once in nine NHL seasons because of a history of being injury prone, and he’s got shortcomings defensively, but he’s in the prime of his career and he was the best option for the Wings as they sought to add a right-shot offensive defenseman to their lineup.
Green brings the number of defensemen under contract to seven: Green, Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Danny DeKeyser, Kyle Quincey, Brendan Smith and Jakub Kindl. The Wings also want to have either Alexey Marchenko or Xavier Ouellet start the season in Detroit. Both could be sent down without waivers, but it’s especially doubtful Marchenko would agree to that because he’d have options in Russia’s KHL. The Wings have been trying to trade Kindl for two years, to no takers.
General manger Ken Holland told the Free Press the Wings are “still kicking tires,” after the Green signing. It would seem they will have to make a trade to make clear room on defense, and if there is anybody to be added up front, where 10 forwards are under contract, plus four RFAs, plus Dylan Larkin is in the mix, that would have to be the case there, too.