Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green (52) passes the puck to a teammate during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Detroit Red Wings in Washington, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)
WASHINGTON - The Washington Capitals didn't wait long to make Mike Green a better offer.
The Capitals signed the defenceman to a US$18.25-million, three-year contract on Monday. The move comes a day after Green rejected a $5-million, one-year qualifying offer from Washington and became a restricted free agent.
Green will earn $6 million in 2012-13 and 2013-14 and $6.25 million in 2014-15 after playing just 81 games over the last two injury-plagued seasons.
"It's been a long process," Green said in a conference call. "Negotiations started early in the year then obviously with the setback of the injury we were going to wait. And then wait after the playoffs, then after the draft, then after free agency so it's been pushed back."
The 26-year-old Calgary native has seen his production drop over the last two limited seasons. He played just 32 games in 2011-12 due to a groin injury and had three goals and four assists.
The Capitals are gambling Green can get healthy and return to his previous form, which saw him break the 70-point plateau in the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons. He has reached double digits in goals three times, including a 31-goal season in 2008-09.
"They know what I'm capable of," Green said. "It was unfortunate the last couple of years that I've suffered through some injuries, but I believe that I'm over them. I think I've got them all out of my system.
"I think that as happy as I am that they're happy and they know I'm committed to the hockey team and doing the right things to be the best that I can. It's a win-win for everybody."
Green has collected 251 points (82 goals, 169 assists) and a plus-62 rating in 398 career NHL games, all with Washington.
He said that he looks forward to rediscovering his offensive game under new head coach Adam Oates.
"What (former coach Dale Hunter) expected was a kind of grinder, chip-in chip-out kind of game," he said. "And I respect him as a coach and played that way and played hard for him.
"But I also at the same time am really excited that Adam is here. From what I heard how he likes to coach fits my style of play ... and hopefully there's a balance between Bruce Boudreau and Dale. And I think Adam's the guy."
Green was originally drafted by Washington in the first round (29th overall) of the 2004 NHL draft.