Though the Edmonton Oilers seem to have a lot more organizational depth on defence, they could benefit from more stability on the right side.
Heading into 2017-18, the Oilers are likely sticking to the same blue line that they had last season. Considering this defence carried them to fourth in the Western Conference, as well as to the playoffs for the first time in 11 years, there isn’t a lot of concern when it comes to the blue line.
However, there are some question marks. With Andrej Sekera injured to start the year, the Oilers lose a significant puck-mover on the blueliner. In addition, Kris Russell will likely take his spot on the second-pairing left-side, leaving a vacancy open on the top four. While Matthew Benning is the top candidate for this role, he is only 23 and a rising sophomore who shouldn’t have to take on top-four minutes and more responsibility and pressure right off the get-go.
Not to mention, the Oilers have the stability and solid defence they need, but they still lack a puck-moving RHD that could double as a power-play quarterback. Therefore, with the Oilers’ situation and lack of an offensive defenceman, could Mike Green be a potential trade target?
Mike Green at a Glance
After an outstanding 10 years with the Washington Capitals, Green left the team at the end of the 2014-15 campaign, signing a three-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings. Since then, he has not only been an asset on their top-four but a force on offence, as well as special teams.
Over the course of Green’s career, he has had four 40+ point campaigns, as well as two 70+ point years. He has also recorded at least 30 points in each of his last four straight seasons. With numerous trips to the All-Star game and Norris consideration over the course of his career, the 31-year-old has proven his worth as a top-four defenceman.
In 72 games this past season, Green posted 14 goals and 36 points but was a minus-20 with the struggling Red Wings. He also racked up 67 hits, 92 blocks and 24 takeaways for 52 giveaways.
The 6-foot-1, 207-pound defenceman is a pure puck-mover and point producer. He not only possesses an outstanding point shot and playmaking ability but also has a great wrist shot and is able to put a lot of pressure on the forecheck.
However, Green needs to be more consistent and use his size to his advantage; he will be a physical force at some times, and then shy away from aggressiveness at others. In addition, he can also be found making mistakes in his own zone, and he needs to take better care of the puck and avoid turnovers. In addition, he continues to add discipline to his game but has taken poor penalties from time to time.
Mike Green’s Trade Value
Though Green isn’t as much of a force and elite defenceman as he was earlier on in his career, he is still a great power-play quarterback and overall player. He can make smart passes and brings a lot to the table offensively. While he needs to improve in some areas on the backcheck, he can block shots and bail his team out when he has to.
When it comes to the Red Wings trading Green, it is quite a possibility heading into this season. Detroit is in quite the predicament when it comes to their salary cap; they have no space and appear to be $4 million over the cap.
Not only that, they want to return to the playoffs and continue to get better, and cannot do that if they have no money to invest in new pieces. Therefore, they need to dump salary, which is why Green, who makes $6 million a year, could be on the move.
Should the Oilers Go for Green?
Though $6 million is a hefty price to pay, the Oilers would not be in a terrible situation if they traded for Green. They have nearly $17 million in cap space entering this season, and could certainly afford to take on his salary, even minus re-signing Leon Draisaitl. Considering the cap situation gets a bit more complicated for the Oilers heading into 2018-19, they wouldn’t have to worry, as Green’s contract expires at the end of this season.
In addition, given the Red Wings primarily have to free up cap space, Edmonton could acquire Green and barely lose anything in return. Detroit will likely want some defensive pieces back, and the Oilers have quite a couple of AHL/NHL blueliners they acquired this offseason. And, because there are only so many vacancies throughout the Edmonton organization, the Oilers wouldn’t be ruining their depth by shipping some of their extra blueliners out.
When it comes to taking on Green, it’s a low-risk situation. As stated, Edmonton has the cap space to take on his contract, and with only a year left on Green’s contract, they aren’t making a huge commitment.
If Green doesn’t work out for Edmonton, the Oilers can let him walk and he can be considered a one-year rental. This situation is similar to the Capitals’ blue line scenario last season, where they picked up Kevin Shattenkirk for more depth at the deadline. Also, Green could end up being a perfect fit and fill a huge need for the team.
Overall, Green is an ideal trade target. He is a puck-moving, power-play quarterback that can add a lot of experience and offence to the Oilers blue line.