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Red Wings sign Green for three years, add Richards

by Paul Harris

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings got the right-handed shooting defenseman with offensive ability they have been seeking for so long, plus a skilled veteran center with two Stanley Cup championships, on Wednesday.

Detroit signed free agent defenseman Mike Green to a three-year, $18 million contract and center Brad Richards to a one-year contract guaranteed for $3 million but that could be worth $4 million with bonuses, according to TSN.

"Both players have high hockey IQ's, great stick skills, and can play the give-and-go type of game that that we like to play," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said Wednesday. "We're excited to have both Brad and Mike with our organization."

Green, 29, had 10 goals and 45 points in 72 games with the Washington Capitals last season, and two assists in 14 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He played on the third defense pair but had 17 power-play points.

Green spent 10 NHL seasons with Washington. He scored at least 15 goals three times, including 31 in 2008-09. Selected with the 29th pick of the 2004 NHL Draft, his 360 points are fifth among Capitals defensemen.

Holland said Green would be a top-four defenseman in Detroit likely paired with Danny DeKeyser.

"For some reason, we've just had a lot of left-shot defensemen," Holland said. "... It's hard to find a defenseman who can create offense. … We were able to add [one] who can rush the puck, create offense, and quarterback the power play."

Green said he talked to Holland and the Red Wings first.

"From that point, I was intrigued with what he said, and we really didn't take advantage of any other offers," Green said. "I decided that if it got to them making an offer that I would go forward with that."

He said he's looking forward to playing in Detroit's puck-possession system.

"Obviously, I enjoy jumping into the play and rushing the puck," Green said.

Richards, 35, had 12 goals and 37 points with the Chicago Blackhawks last season, and 14 points in 23 playoff games to help the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup.

He also won the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004, when he had 26 points in 23 games and won the Conn Smythe Trophy.

In 15 seasons with the Lightning, Dallas Stars, New York Rangers and Blackhawks, Richards had 288 goals and 904 points in 1,058 games. He had 36 goals and 104 points in 141 playoff games.

Holland said with everyone healthy, Richards will be Detroit's No. 2 center. But with the uncertainty about Pavel Datsyuk, who had surgery on ruptured tendons in his right ankle last Friday, Richards could open the season as the No. 1.

Richards, who signed a one-year free agent contract with Chicago last summer, said his agent talked to Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman a few days after the season ended.

"We knew they had a lot of moving parts and we haven't really talked to them since," Richards said. "... I didn't want to wait for half the summer. I want to enjoy my summer, so I jumped at this."

Of playing for the Red Wings, he said, "Another classy organization with a great history and players raving about coming here."

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