In one of the biggest trades on draft day, the Washington Capitals traded backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer and veteran defenseman Brooks Orpik to the Colorado Avalanche.
It freed up some much needed cap space for DC, meaning that they were able to re-sign Devante Smith-Pelly, Michael Kempsey and veteran blue-liner John Carlson.
Grubauer had made it pretty clear that he wanted more than DC could offer him and having proved himself during the latter end of the season, no one could begrudge him that.
The ink was barely dry on the deal before rumours began to swirl that Colorado were planning to buy Orpik out of the last year of his deal. While he doesn’t put up a lot of points, he does provide a great deal of leadership to a young team in the locker room. Both Smith-Pelly and Christian Djoos have come out and said that Orpik was a big part of their success this season past.
Just three days after the trade and as expected, Colorado bought out Orpik’s contract and he became a free agent. Following that, the talks of him returning to Washington began.
There are questions that still remain unanswered;
- Did that leadership really warrant the $5.5 million in cap space that Orpik was occupying?
- Could there be a chance he might now return to the Capitals with a lower value contract?
- Could the game be up for Orpik and could he possibly be more beneficial as an off ice defensive coach?