The Edmonton Oilers have made an already imposing offense a little more difficult to handle with the acquisition of rushing defenseman Mike Green from the Detroit Red Wings. And since the cost was just Kyle Brodziak and a conditional draft pick, there’s really no downside to this move by GM Ken Holland.
Green may not be the world-beater he was a decade ago when he was racking up a point-per-game for the Washington Capitals, but he is a right-shot defenseman with a ton of experience and the ability to help out in transition. True, Edmonton already has the top power play in the NHL, but adding Green gives the Oilers another option at the point as well.
Though Green has only tallied 11 points this season, it’s important to filter everything that happens in Detroit this season through a certain lens; the Red Wings are near-historically bad and were actually eliminated from the playoffs the other day. What is key about Green is that he can be a contributor in Edmonton, but he does not have to be The Guy.
Injuries have worked their way through the Oilers lineup of late but with Connor McDavid returning with authority on Sunday (three points in a 4-2 win over lowly Los Angeles), Edmonton looks to be in good shape for the team’s first post-season run since 2017.
As it stands now, one of the Oilers’ most important blueliners, Oscar Klefbom, is still on the shelf due to a shoulder injury, so Green can pitch in immediately on the back end. Once Klefbom returns, Green becomes a great add for a team that has found some nice performances from youngsters such as Ethan Bear and Caleb Jones this season.
Is Green still a top-four guy in the NHL? Certainly he can play within that range. He had logged an average of 21 minutes per game in Detroit this season and while the Red Wings didn’t have a lot of choice in the matter (only Filip Hronek and Patrik Nemeth played more than Green), at the least it shows Green isn’t finished just yet at age 34.
Perhaps most heartening for Oilers fans is the fact Green waived his no-trade clause to come to Edmonton. That has basically been unheard of in the past when it came to the Northern Alberta city, but Green’s move illustrates just how positive the vibes are in the organization right now – though the chance to play on the same team as McDavid and Leon Draisaitl is pretty enticing in itself.
For Detroit, this deal was simply a chance for GM Steve Yzerman to get something for one of his pending UFAs. Brodziak has missed the entire season with a back problem and is basically a paper transaction to LTIR at this point, but the draft pick will be useful. The pick is a 2020 fourth-rounder that will be upgraded to a 2021 third-rounder if Edmonton gets to the conference final this spring and Green plays in at least 50 per cent of the games.
It’s obvious the Red Wings are in a trough right now, but Detroit has been active at the draft and will continue to pile up assets this year and next. Right now, the Red Wings have 17 selections in the next two drafts – and it’s likely they’ll add more before they’re done.
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