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Will the Caps use their buyout on Laich or Green?

Jun 2, 2014, 7:11 PM EDT

Brooks Laich AP

New Washington Capitals GM Brian MacLellan faces some challenges, including tweaking a roster to the specifications of new head coach Barry Trotz (even if the latter seems open-minded about playing to offensive strengths). takes an in-depth look at one of the bigger questions facing MacLellan: should the team use its final compliance buyout this summer?

The two most obvious names the Capitals may consider are banged-up center Brooks Laich and up-and-down defenseman Mike Green.

Green only has one year left on a deal that carries a $6.08 million cap hit, so it seems like Washington would gain more in parting ways with Laich (whose $4.5 million cap hit runs through the 2016-17 season).

Assistant GM Don Fishman told that he doesn’t anticipate this happening. The Caps wouldn’t get much time to decide, either; there’s only a 48-hour window after the end of the playoffs to make such a decision.

Even if the Capitals decide to part ways with Laich, the 30-year-old would need to pass a physical first. He failed one at the end of the season as abdominal/groin issues continue to hound him.

In other words, Washington might not even have a choice.

If nothing else, the organization is giving Laich a vote of confidence. They said they “need” the gritty center during an introductory press conference while Laich seems upbeat about the 2014-15 season.

“I feel really good,” Laich said, noting to that he completed rehab from offseason surgery. “I’m very, very confident that come the fall I will be ready to rock and roll.”

The Capitals have to hope that isn’t his way of saying “I’ll have a lot of time to practice playing the guitar because I won’t be healthy enough to contribute.”

  1. pr0jecktpat - Jun 2, 2014 at 7:28 PM

    I agree Laich is much more likely to be bought out than Green. Much like most Caps fans I really like Laich, but the guy just can’t stay healthy, and you can’t build a contender if you have no consistency in the locker room and on the ice. Buy him out, and be done with it.

    Mike Green is such a curious specimen, he can be a great puck moving defenseman when healthy, and trying, but most of the time he just gives up on plays, or makes some of the worst passes I’ve ever seen a professional player make. I don’t know if he is lacking confidence, or if it is purely a conditioning issue, most likely both, but I think at this point it is time to part ways. Try to move him, and get something for him, he still has some years left, and possibly the Caps could ruse some team like they did with Calgary and Dennis Wideman.

    This GM supposedly got the job by criticizing everything that was wrong with the old regime “that he was apart of, mind you”, so unless he starts making decisions that the old regime was too stubborn or stupid to make it will be the same old Washington for the foreseeable future.

  2. capsnbohs23 - Jun 2, 2014 at 7:30 PM

    Green has been scared of his own shadow the past couple of seasons but I think Trotz can get him back to somewhat of a respectable level in his own end. There is no way I trust Laich’s groin, I cant see him putting up more than 30 points

  3. lowenni - Jun 2, 2014 at 7:51 PM

    Despite their struggles these are two very important pieces to this Caps team. I’m pretty hopeful Laich can get back to healthy form, before these groin injuries the guy had been a serious iron man. I know groin injuries can be recurring, but he’s worked really hard this offseason and has gotten surgery and should come in to camp a new man. When he’s healthy, he’s good for 40 points, but that’s not what makes him so valuable. He’s a great locker room guy and a great two way forward. Is his cap-hit a little high? Perhaps, but the Caps aren’t throwing out a $8 mil contract this season anyways. As for Green, he was the Caps best possession defender this season. While Caps youngsters like Schmidt, Orlov, and Carrick show promise in becoming solid puck-moving defenseman, no one on the Caps backend currently has the ability to carry the puck out of trouble like Green does or make the plays he does in the offensive zone (even if they’re decreasing). He seems to have moved past his injury troubles but now plays without confidence and unsure of his job–if anyone can fix that, it’s Trotz. I don’t think Green will ever score 30 goals (which was an amazing feat) again, but I can see him being a consistent 40-50 point defenseman with serious puck moving ability if he and Trotz work out.

  4. govtminion - Jun 2, 2014 at 8:23 PM

    Laich’s injury woes have been disappointing, but he’s played well enough when he’s been on the ice, at least. Green… it’s funny to look back at 2009 highlights of Green and see the difference in his game now. There’s no jump to his skating, he just kind of lopes along- he looks like a totally different player, and not in a good way. The buyout option would be wasted on ditching a one-year deal, but… I sure wouldn’t offer him anything similar NEXT summer.

  5. jm31221 - Jun 2, 2014 at 10:06 PM

    I’m probably in the minority here among caps fans, but Brooks, before the lockout was a journeyman, he was the definition of a solid healthy player. Brooks is also the heart of the team in my opinion. No one wants to win more than Brooks does, and you can see that in his interviews and the effort he puts in on and off the ice. It’s because of this, I think he deserves one more shot with the Capitals this year. Also, I’m pretty sure he has to pass his physical this summer first for the Caps to be able to buy him out. I think the organization would regret buying him out if he does manage to stay healthy after this most recent surgery and I think there are plenty of teams that would give him a shot.

    Mike Green use to be one of my favorite players on the team. Since he got a concussion, he has consistently struggled to stay healthy, and has never been the same player he once was. He is scared to hit, he doesn’t play physical in front of the net, he doesn’t shoot often enough from the point and as others have stated he blows passes all day long. I think my biggest problem with Green is I see no emotion in any of his interviews, it’s the same thing every time, he just licks his lips and shrugs off his bad performances. Mike Green has to go, he is definitely “considered” or should I say expected to be one of the leaders of this team and so far he has been anything but. He is definitely one of the veterans who should be leading by example at this point for the younger players. The problem is I see no leadership on or off the ice, he is more likely to be given advise from Carlson than he is to be giving advise to our younger D. Now the question is do they buy him out or try to trade him, I have to go with trading him, we may only get a bag of peanuts for him, but buying him out and letting another player walk away with no return on that investment after players like Ribero, Semin walked with no return, would be looked at as a huge failure of the organization. And would pretty much cement in my mind that our new GM is just a bald George McPhee.

    Sorry for any bad grammar or spelling errors, wrote this on my iPhone.

  6. wethog66 - Jun 2, 2014 at 11:20 PM

    Laich isn’t a center.

  7. cliffatola - Jun 3, 2014 at 12:28 AM

    Buy out Laich and trade Green, show us you actually intend to change the status quo.

  8. therealjr - Jun 3, 2014 at 2:29 AM

    James, don’t link to Gormley, he’s an idiot.

    Laich won’t pass a physical prior to the buyout deadline. You can take that to the bank.

    As for including Green on here, you really should think things through before posting. If they were dead set on getting rid of him you really think they would have to resort to a buyout of his one year contract because they couldn’t give him away? Far from it, if they are moving on from Green they will get decent prospects/picks or a roster player.

    • pjblake2redwings - Jun 3, 2014 at 9:19 AM

      what kind of pick or prospect can you get for a guy who is so inconsistant with such a high salary

      • therealjr - Jun 3, 2014 at 11:16 AM

        It depends. At the deadline guys like Bouwmeester have fetched 1st/2nd round picks. Going into the season I think they would prefer prospects over picks or even a roster player. I don’t know what type of return they will get, hopefully will find out in a month.

        Point being, a team is out there that would give up something, even if it’s as little a a 4th round draft pick. He is not a buyout candidate.

  9. washcraps - Jun 3, 2014 at 11:41 AM

    I hope we keep him both Laich and Green to see how they do with Trotz, especially Green. I see no point buying out Green since he only has 1 year left and I doubt we’d fully utilize his cap hit efficiently this year with such a weak UFA pool. With Laich, I have confidence that he can stay healthy and bounce back with 40-50 points and prove the doubters wrong. Like others have said, Laich brings a lot more to this team than his point totals, he’s one of our most vocal players, is a great motivator, and really adds to our team’s mental fortitude. Plus, with the cap going up, $4.5M for a versatile 2nd/3rd line center/wing who can play both PP and PK is perfectly fine. We need all the center depth we can get.

  10. flyboystransport - Jun 3, 2014 at 12:52 PM

    The likely scenarios is laich gets bought out and green gets traded. There are going to be quite a few teams that are gonna need to get to the cap floor

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