So the Caps won’t have to worry about any offer sheets after all. Defenseman Mike Green signed a four-year contract this morning.
The deal is worth $21 million, with a salary cap hit at $5.25 million per season. This puts Green under contract through the 2011-12 season, at which point he will have one more year as a restricted free agent because he does not turn 27 before the June 30 deadline. (updated at 1:52 p.m.)
By my count, this makes him the 17th highest-paid defenseman in the NHL, although Brian Campbell and Wade Redden will likely sign deals in the next couple of days to pass him, as could Florida’s Jay Bouwmeester.
It is fair to say he will be better than the 19th- or 20th-best player at his position next year. He did finish seventh in the Norris Trophy voting this season. This also makes Green the second highest-paid player on the Caps — for now. Obviously goaltender Cristobal Huet could sign a deal that tops this one, at least in terms of annual salary. But considering Green’s value to the Caps both in the short- and long-term, he deserves it. He is scheduled to talk to us on a conference call in a couple of hours, so there will be more later.
And of course, the Caps might not be done today.
(Update at 10:53 a.m.)
Here is the current list of the highest-paid defensemen in the NHL, with their salary cap hit for next season:
1. Zdeno Chara, BOS, $7,500,000
2. Nicklas Lidstrom, DET, $7,450,000
3. Scott Niedermayer, ANA, $6,750,000
4. Dan Boyle, TB, $6,666,667
5. Dion Phaneuf, CLG, $6,500,000
5. Ed Jovanovski, PHO, $6,500,000
7. Kimmo Timonen, PHI, $6,333,333
8. Chris Pronger, ANA, $6,250,000
9. Brian Rafalski, DET, $6,000,000
10. Andrei Markov, MON, $5,750,000
10. Bryan McCabe, TOR, $5,750,000
12. Mathieu Schneider, ANA, $5,625,000
13. Lubomir Visnovsky, EDM, $5,600,000
14. Roman Hamrlik, MON, $5,500,000
15. Sheldon Souray, EDM, $5,400,000
16. Sergei Zubov, DAL, $5,350,000
17. MIKE GREEN, WAS, $5,250,000
18. Sergei Gonchar, PIT, $5,000,000
18. Pavel Kubina, TOR, $5,000,000
20. Kim Johnsson, MIN, $4,850,00