Capitals GM admits he's fielded calls regarding availability of Mike Green
The Washington Capitals appear to be a much improved side, even if their early season record doesn't reflect it.
Though Washington's goaltending has been iffy, the fact of the matter is that the Capitals are controlling games to a degree they rarely managed last season - and they're doing it consistently. It would appear that the club's big offseason investments in defense-first blue-liners like Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik are paying off.
Of course, where that leaves defenseman Mike Green is an open question. Green, 29, is a pending unrestricted free agent and he's off to a very productive start in his contract year. The right-handed shooter has nine points in his first 10 games and is leading all Capitals defenders in shot attempt differential.
Though, some of his impressive production is likely a direct result of playing on a team with other defensive options. Through 10 games, Green is playing just over 20 minutes per game. If these numbers hold up, it would be the fewest minutes he's logged on a per game basis since his first full NHL season back in 2006-07. He's also starting two shifts in the offensive end, for every shift in Washington's own.
Meanwhile the Capitals seem to be in wait-and-see mode in terms of their approach to possibly extending Green, or perhaps trading him before the 2015 NHL trade deadline.
"I’ve had a few (calls)," Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan admitted to ESPN's Craig Custance (subscription only) when asked about whether or not there's significant interest in Green around the league. "He’s a legitimate first power play, right-shot (defenseman) that can make plays and shoot the puck. Who wouldn’t want one?"
Despite that interest, MacLellan isn't ready to deal the puck-moving ace just yet.
"We’re good where we’re at right now," MacLellan said. "I like our defense, but I’d never say no to a deal where I thought we were improving the team. I think we’re playing it out to see if it’s going to work for him and for us. So far it’s been good for both."
MacLellan is taking the same patient approach to extension talks with Green. Last week he told Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman that on the subject of a new contract for Green the Capitals were content to wait until later in the season.