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Detroit Red Wings Add Defenseman Mike Green, Forward Brad Richards

The Detroit Red Wings made a big splash into the Free Agent pool on Wednesday amid the annual frenzy. They acquired both highly coveted offensive defenseman Mike Green and veteran forward Brad Richards.

Green was the best fit for the Red Wings on the free agent market. Not only did they visibly lack a right-handed shot, but the likes of his offensive tendencies on the back-end have been missing since the Nick Lidstroms and Bryan Rafalskis.

His points totals exceeded 50 points each season from 2007-08 to 2009-10, while putting up 73 and 76 in the latter two respectively. His sophomore campaign also saw him score an outstanding 31 goals from the blueline.

Granted, his performance on the scoresheet has been on the decline since the 2009-10 campaign, but that is due in part to his relegation to lower defense pairings. It has been noted that his defensive capabilities are not spectacular, but his pluses far outweigh the negatives in this case.

A veteran of 575 NHL games, he has accumulated 360 points, of which 113 came in the goal variety. The Washington Capitals have not had much playoff success throughout his time with the team, but a change of scenery is likely all he needs to regain his offensive form.

Is it coincidental that the Red Wings land a big name player of Green’s caliber now that notoriously tough bench boss Mike Babcock is gone? Possibly. Babcock is known to be a tough coach to play for, albeit a very successful one. But, after the Wings failed to woo Ryan Suter, Zach Parise, and a number of high quality players in the past few year, you can’t help but wonder if the thought of playing under Babcock might have spooked some big names.

However, with rookie and player-friendly coach Jeff Blashill at the helm that might have made a significant difference when it comes to attracting free agents.

Richards was another big pick-up for Detroit. Fresh off winning a Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks, the 35 year old center proved he still has something left in the tank. A 15-year veteran, he also won a Cup in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Lightning, also taking home the Conn Smythe Trophy as post-season MVP. Additionally, he was awarded the Lady Byng Trophy in the same year.

Since that early success, he has played for the Dallas Stars (3 seasons), the New York Rangers (3 seasons) and the Hawks. He equaled his career-high 91 points (also his jersey number) in his second season with the Stars that he originally set in 2005-06 with the Bolts.

His point totals have decreased steadily since that second 91-point campaign. The following years he scored 77, 66, 34 (forecasted to 60), 51, and 37. But he will not be required to put up those kind of numbers. The acquisition increases the forward depth of the team; he will likely center the third line.

Overall, the Wings did very well today. They got two very skilled players at very reasonable prices and term. They did not have to give up anything (as they would have had they went the Dion Phaneuf trade route) and came out as clear winners on the first day of free agency.

Follow me on Twitter @KevinSporkaHOHM

Kevin Sporka

Kevin Sporka

Kevin Sporka is the Senior Media Analyst and Detroit Red Wings beat writer at HOHM. He is also the author of the Fantasy Hockey Fridays, In Retrospect, Milestone Monday, and Legends By the Number segments.
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