In terms of trade-deadline acquisitions for contending teams across the NHL, few pieces are more coveted than a right-handed defenseman.
Unfortunately for the scores of general managers seeking to add one ahead of the deadline, available such players are few and far between. That said, a few exist, and Detroit Red Wings rearguard Mike Green is one name sure to generate plenty of interest across front offices prior to Feb. 26.
Green, 32, hasn't packed the same punch since he registered back-to-back 70-plus-point seasons with Washington in 2009 and 2010, but has quietly remained an effective puck-mover and point producer throughout his tenure in Detroit.
Although they've looked better of late, the Red Wings probably aren't strong enough to sustain a serious pursuit of a playoff spot, making Green's expiring contract highly expendable.
Green, who has recorded 24 points in 41 games this season, carries a $6 million cap hit. It's unlikely he waives his no-trade clause for a team without serious Stanley Cup aspirations, so without further ado, here are three contenders that should be courting Ken Holland for Green's services.
Whether the Maple Leafs need to reinforce their blue line to truly emerge as a playoff threat has been discussed fervently since last summer, and if they do decide to make a move, Green could be a proper fit.
Toronto's internal right-handed options are limited, and Green has potential to fit well with the up-tempo style at which the Leafs are most effective. With numerous high-end forward prospects at their disposal, and a few extra draft picks to boot, the Leafs have a few avenues to explore to make a deal work.
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As unstoppable as the Lightning have been to this point, why wouldn't Steve Yzerman want to make a move that could help push his team over the top?
First and foremost, the Lightning would have to unload salary to add Green and stay under the cap, but it's not insurmountable by any means, especially if Yzerman manages to convince his old team to retain some of Green's cost.
If there's a flaw with Tampa's roster as they look to nail down top spot in the East, it's a mostly inexperienced blue line. Jake Dotchin, rookie dynamo Mikhail Sergachev, and Slater Koekkoek currently make up half of the Lightning's top six; giving some of those minutes to Green down the stretch would only add to Tampa Bay's chances of capturing a Stanley Cup.
After another playoff disappointment gave way to plenty of roster turnover, the Capitals have hardly lost a step, leading the treacherous Metropolitan Division with 55 points.
Like the Lightning, Washington would also have to tinker to take on Green's salary, but seeking improvement on the back end ahead of a playoff trip that will likely feature multiple divisional opponents doesn't seem a bad idea - even if the Kevin Shattenkirk experiment didn't pan out last year.