Former Red Wings defenseman Mike Green joined a growing list of NHL players who are opting out of playing when the season resumes on Aug. 1.
“Due to the uncertainties surrounding COVID-19 and after much consideration, I’ve decided for deeply personal family health reasons not to participate in the return to play,” Green said in a statement.
"This has been a hard decision knowing that I'm going to miss the opportunity to compete in the playoffs with a Stanley Cup contender. I wish the best of luck to the guys and I appreciate the Edmonton Oilers support."
Green, who was acquired by former Red Wings general manager Ken Holland at the trade deadline in February, played only two games for Edmonton before suffering a knee injury. He was expected to be a third-pair defenseman when the Oilers begin the best-of-five, play-in series against the Chicago Blackhawks next month.
In 48 games in Detroit this year, Green had three goals and eight assists with a plus-minus rating of minus-32. After signing a three-year, $18-million contract with the Red Wings in 2015, he wound up with 37 goals and 104 assists with a minus-73 rating in 303 career games in Detroit.
With Green sitting out the playoffs, the trade deadline deal between Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman and Holland is now finalized.
The Wings would've received a third-round pick in 2021 if the Oilers reached the Western Conference finals and Green played in half of their games.
Now, they will receive a fourth-round pick in 2020. Detroit also received center Kyle Brodziak, who was forced to retire because of a back injury.
Green is the sixth player to choose not to participate in the expanded 24-team playoffs in the aftermath of a deal being struck to resume the season.
Boston’s Steven Kampfer, Montreal’s Karl Alzner, Dallas' Roman Polak, Calgary's Travis Hamonic and Vancouver’s Sven Baertschi also decided to opt out.
Kampfer, who played 10 games with the Bruins this season, said his wife and son have a congenital defect that could cause complications with the virus and called it “one of the hardest decisions” he has had to make.
Polak is a pending free agent who last month agreed to a deal in his native Czech Republic next season and told reporters there he wasn’t planning on returning to the NHL if play resumed. Baertschi, who spent most of this season in the minors, is under contract through 2020-21.
“Sven informed us late yesterday that he has chosen to opt out of the NHL return to play program,” Canucks general manager Jim Benning said. “It was a difficult decision but ultimately one we respect and understand.”
Hamonic was the first player to publicly choose not to play in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Hamonic’s daughter was hospitalized last year with respiratory issues, and he and his wife also have a baby boy. Their health concerns, not the soon-to-be 30-year-old’s impending free agency, led him to opt out.
“I wish I could lace up my skates and be out there battling, blocking a shot and helping my team win, but my family has and always will come first,” Hamonic said. “Being my little kids’ dad every day is the most important job I have. I love this game and my team. This is a decision that is extremely hard for me to make.”
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league will be taking over injury and illness disclosure from teams as a way of protecting player privacy.
“Medical privacy is important in this process,” Daly said. “Having said that, we understand as a league we have an obligation of some transparency with respect to the COVID virus in particular, so at least for now we’re going to maintain a policy where the league is announcing on basically league numbers and clubs are really prohibited from giving any information with respect to COVID test results, and, for purposes of making the system work, any injury information going forward.”