The Washington Capitals on Thursday made the long-awaited and unfortunately unsurprising move of placing defenseman Mike Green on long-term injured reserve.
Here’s what that means for the Caps:
Life without Green is the status quo – Green has missed 31 of the Caps’ 41 games this season with groin and ankle injuries and has been out 65 of the team’s past 132 games including playoffs. “Mike has been out a lot, so we’re kind of used to that,” veteran Mike Knuble said earlier this week. Hope that Green returns Feb. 1 when he’s eligible to be back can still flicker, but give his injury history it’s more realistic to think he’ll be out longer than that.
More salary cap flexibility – Green on LTIR gives the Caps $5.25 million more of salary cap exemption, though that doesn’t equate to actual salary cap space. What it does is it allows the club to do is add more salary perhaps in a trade before the deadline. If Green is able to return for the playoffs, like he did last season, the cap is no longer a factor.
Still Wideman and Carlson time – When Dale Hunter took over, many pointed to ice time for Dennis Wideman and John Carlson being high. It’s true, but both players pointed to Green’s injury as a reason for heavier loads. That, and a hefty amount of time for Karl Alzner, won’t change for the foreseeable future.