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Washington Capitals sign defenceman Green to $21-million, four-year deal

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ARLINGTON, Va. - The Washington Capitals are keeping the dynamic young star with the oh-my-gosh end-to-end moves.

Alex Ovechkin? He's already under contract. Tuesday was Mike Green's day as the NHL's top scoring defenceman was rewarded with a US$21-million, four-year contract extension.

He'll earn $6 million next season, which is a big raise on the $850,000 he made last year.

Green had 18 goals at the age of 22, becoming the youngest player to lead defencemen in goals since Paul Coffey in 1981-82.

League MVP Ovechkin, meanwhile, lead the league overall with 65 goals. He and Green - both chosen in the first round of the 2004 draft - became the first teammates to lead the NHL in goals and goals by a defenceman since Coffey and Mario Lemieux in 1988-89.

In his second full season in the league, Green was also one of four Capitals to play in every game and led the team in ice time with 23:38 minutes per game. His 56 points ranked seventh in the NHL among defencemen. He had eight power-play goals, four game-winning goals and three overtime goals.

"Mike has developed into an impact defenceman in the short time since we drafted him, and he will be a key part of our team moving forward," said GM George McPhee.

Green's deal was done on the morning of the first day of free agency and accomplished one of Washington's top off-season goals. Another is the re-signing of goaltender Cristobal Huet, who was acquired at the trade deadline and helped lead the team to its first playoff berth since 2003.

Green, of course, was also a key part of the post-season push. He struggled early in the season under defensive-minded coach Glen Hanlon, who was fired Nov. 22, but his attacking style was a perfect fit under new coach Bruce Boudreau.

Green had 15 goals and 49 points in 61 games after Boudreau was hired. The Capitals were 11-4-0 when Green scored a goal. He also had three goals and seven points in the seven-game series loss to Philadelphia in the first round of the playoffs and was a standout for Canada at the IIHF World Hockey Championship.

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