By: Will Burchfield
Ken Holland wanted to trade Mike Green, and Green was open to being dealt.
But Green’s value came crashing down thanks to a neck injury he sustained on Feb. 15 that kept him sidelined for the last six games prior to Monday’s trade deadline. Ultimately, Holland, said, the teams interested in the veteran defenseman were scared off by his cloudy bill of health.
So Green, a pending unrestricted free agent, will remain with the Red Wings for at least the rest of this season. He has six goals and 29 points in 56 games and was considered one of the prime rentals on the market.
Holland said there were two teams in on Green, and one was “very interested over the last four or five days.” They simply couldn’t get past the uncertainty regarding his recovery and the possibility that his injury could resurface down the stretch or in the playoffs.
Asked if the Red Wings received any formal offers for Green, Holland said, “I had an idea of what I was looking for, much along the lines with what’s transpired over the course of the last two or three years at the deadline when it comes to defensemen. The teams that had interest couldn’t justify they were taking on that cap space (and) they were going to maybe spend some assets, and run the risk that Mike (might not) get healthy — and if he did get healthy, could he play until the middle of June?”
Green’s prorated cap hit for the remainder of the season is about $1.46 million. He has a full no-trade clause, which he was reportedly willing to waive for either the Lightning or the Capitals, but Holland said Green never used it. The 32-year-old made wanted the chance to chase a championship.
“Mike was open to being traded to another team. He would have loved to have the opportunity go to a team that had a real chance to win the Stanley Cup. We had that conversation 10 days ago,” Holland said.
At that point, it looked like Green would return to the Red Wings lineup prior to the deadline. But he wasn’t able to get over the hump, despite practicing a couple times last week. Holland said one of the teams inquiring on Green requested his medical reports, but apparently this wasn’t enough to assuage their concerns.
Holland spoke with Green again in the middle of last week and explained the situation.
“Tuesday or Wednesday, I informed him that two of the teams wanted to know specifically what was going on with his injury. I know that it had real bearing on their decision,” Holland said.
It also didn’t help the Red Wings that Erik Karlsson and Ryan McDonagh monopolized the market for defenseman. The Lightning, one of the teams believed to be in on Green, ultimately landed McDonagh in a last-minute blockbuster with the Rangers.
“I’m sure a lot of the teams that were interested in defensemen obviously were talking to the New York Rangers. There were a lot of rumors about other high-profile defensemen, so I think between the defensemen that were possibly available on the market and the uncertainty of the injury to Mike Green, it all impacted that he remains a Red Wing,” Holland said.
The Red Wings, currently five points out of the playoffs, are hopeful that Green can return to action this weekend. They’re also interested in re-signing him this summer, which would dull the sting of not being able to trade him on Monday. Green has become a terrific example for Detroit’s younger defensemen in his third year with the team.