Brooks Orpik Did What He Needed to Do for the Caps

Posted June 22, 2018

(Caps Outsider)

When Brooks Oprik signed a five-year, $27.5 million contract with the Capitals four years ago, a former Caps beat writer described the move to me as ‘stupid.’

It’s no longer an issue, as he was traded for a second-round pick with Philipp Grubauer to the Colorado Avalanche on Friday.

Considering Orpik’s age (he was about to turn 34), and the length of the contract, the move did indeed seem odd, though it’s possible Matt Niskanen, who also signed with the Caps, wanted Orpik to come with him from Pittsburgh, and it was a package deal of sorts.

Orpik became an alternate captain, and the organization praised him for his locker-room presence and for helping to coach younger defensemen. But his on-ice numbers, particularly things like CORSI, led to countless articles, including on this site, to question GM Brian Maclellan’s move to sign a high-dollar, older defenseman, not the mention Barry Trotz‘s use of him.

Arguments can be made that without Orpik, the Caps could have faired better in the playoffs, particularly a couple of years ago when he took a costly double minor which led to two Pittsburgh goals in Game 6. But we can speculate all sorts of things, with this signing, with the Filip Forsberg/Martin Erat trade, etc. It’s clear, though, that the Capitals had four highly successful years with Orpik and his leadership. In fact, Orpik played extremely well in the 2018 playoffs, and even scored a rare goal in the finals, as he won his second championship.

Would the Caps have won the Stanley Cup without Orpik? No idea. But we shouldn’t keep wondering What If? after a Stanley Cup, but instead understand that every move the team had previously made – going back 15 years – ultimately led to this.

Now Orpik is in Colorado, a trade – and I use the term loosely – that Maclellan made purely for financial reasons as John Carlson is due for a major raise.

Whether he was too old, or too overpaid, Orpik came to D.C., brought his experience, and helped the Caps win a Stanley Cup. The move worked, and now he’s gone. Thank you, and good luck, Brooks Orpik.

Dec. 13, 2014: Pick-A-Stick Winners Meet Brooks Orpik

Feb 26, 2016: Brooks Orpik Gets Career High in Goals

Charlie and hist Orpik shirt.

Orpik is the Honest Abe after the Winter Classic in D.C.

Orpik sounds like Oral Pick so, he’s The Dentist.

Matt Niskanen with Griffin and Homer, and Brooks Orpik with Tyson. (Caps Outsider)

Brooks Orpik signs an autograph.

Orpik bobblehead!