The Long Strange Journey of Brooks Orpik Back to DC

NHL Free Agency is one of those times that we who bring you the news about hockey and the Washington Capitals get a little giddy. We talk and talk about who might get signed for how much or who is most likely to get traded. And we like to think we are pretty good at this projecting thing.

And then along comes Brooks Orpik and we throw our hands up in the air and start all over. Many times we did that here!

It all started with the Capitals being too tight to sign John Carlson and the players they really want to hang onto for a few more seasons. And the desire of Philipp Grubauer to become a starting goalie.

There was talk last summer about buying out Orpik to make room in the cap ceiling to sign big-name contracts with TJ Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmity Orlov. The conclusion was that it was too expensive to buy out his contract and so we kind of assumed the same thing was true this summer.

What we didn’t see was a deal during the first round of the draft that would send Grubi and Orpik to Denver. We knew they had to make space for Carly, we just didn’t see this as their move.

As soon as Orpik’s move to the AVS was announced talk began that they would buy him out. And if they did buy him out, well then the Capitals might be able to afford to bring him back.

So we waited… and waited…and waited

For Tuesday! The Capitals announced that they finally signed Brooks to a one-year $1 million contract, with a $500k bonus!!

General manager Brian MacLellan had this to say in the Caps press release: “Brooks has been a valuable player and a great mentor for our young players and we are thrilled to bring him back to our organization. We feel his leadership and competitiveness on and off the ice will be welcomed back to our group.”

Orpik brings back a maturity that the Caps need in their locker room. He is the constant steady voice that whispers in the ears of younger players. And the Caps young roster needs that. And he has some decent stats, including a playoff goal!

From the Caps today:

Orpik, 37, led the Capitals with 168 blocked shots and ranked second on the team, and first among Washington defensemen, with 218 hits in 2017-18. He recorded 10 points (0g, 10a) in 81 regular-season appearances and five points (1g, 4a) in 24 postseason contests. The 6’3″, 217-pound defenseman has recorded 53 points (3g, 50a) and 830 hits in 279 games with the Capitals.

Author: Maggie Marcum

Managing Editor for Friends in Cold Places.

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