I just got off the phone with Craig Oster, Mike Green’s agent. Here is some of what he had to say about the negotiations of Green’s new four-year, $21 million deal.
Q: What happened that you didn’t wait until noon and a possible offer sheet?
OSTER: After we talked [yesterday], I had a number of more discussions with the Capitals and there was a substantial shift from their end. They moved their position substantially in our direction. I think there was a disconnect about the amount of money in proportion to the longer-term contracts we discussed. With a longer deal, we would obviously seek more money for a talented player like Mike who everyone expects to continue to get better.
Q: Green’s deal will be, depending on what happens with Jay Bouwmeester, the second-largest among young defensemen behind Dion Phaneuf’s. Is that a fair assessment of his value?
OSTER: That’s part of what we discussed with Washington – not just who was better or trying to rank these young players, but look the timing of the contracts. I think there has been a dramatic shift in the marketplace for young defensemen like Mike in the past couple of years. I think Phaneuf is kind of the high-water mark, but teams definitely value these talented young defensemen. I think it has happened with the young forwards too like [Jeff] Carter, [Ryan] Getzlaf and [Corey] Perry. Even look at a guy like Alexander Semin on the Capitals. [NOTE: I mentioned yesterday that I suspected Semin’s contract was part of the negotiation process with Green’s representatives and the Caps.]
OSTER: I think both sides compromised to get the deal done and we’re happy that Mike will be back for the next four years with an exciting group. We’re also happy to see the Caps go out and improve themselves by signing Jose Theodore [NOTE: Theodore is a Newport client, like Green]. It shows the organization is committed to having a successful product.
Also, here’s what George McPhee had to say about Green:
Q: HOW IMPORTANT WAS IT TO GET GREEN’S DEAL DONE BEFORE OTHER TEAMS COULD START JUMPING IN ON HIM?
MCPHEE: We think it was really important. Mike Green is one of best young players in this game right now. It is really hard right-handed defensemen. It is almost impossible to find right-handed defensemen with the abilities of this player. He really is a dynamic, young player and when you draft and develop your own players, you want to hang onto them. We’ve always said we would sign our own young players and keep them, and that we would be in this position one day where they were drafted and developed and now they’ve turned into stars and we’re going to keep them.
We have no doubt there probably would have been an offer sheet discussion. We would have matched an offer sheet, but we got a deal done that we like, and it is always better to do it that way.