The Washington Capitals brought on former Penguins assistant coach Todd Reirden to join Barry Trotz’s staff, and the speculation started. Which former backliner that he coached in Pittsburgh would join him?
The answer was who signed a five-year, $27.5 million contract on Tuesday.
From the Capitals:
“We are very excited to welcome Brooks to Washington,” said GM Brian MacLellan. “We feel Brooks’ leadership and experience will greatly enhance our defense for years to come. Brooks plays tough minutes against the opposition’s best players.”
Orpik, 33, ranks first among defensemen in Pittsburgh franchise history in games played (703), fifth in penalty minutes (734) and ninth in assists (119). The 6’2”, 219-pound defenseman has registered 132 points (13 goals, 119 assists) and 734 penalty minutes in 703 career NHL games. He has served as an alternate captain for the team since 2008, was named the Penguins’ Defensive Player of the Year three times (2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12) and won the Player’s Player Award four times (2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14), given to the player that exemplifies leadership on and off ice and is dedicated to teamwork.
Change the GM, change to plans in Washington: Orpik is the kind of physical, veteran defensive defenseman the Capitals have been lacking for years on the free agent front. He also brings a little nasty as well, as a guy who isn't afraid to lay out a foe with a booming hit.
If there’s a reservation here, it’s the term: Five years for a 33-year-old player that many in Pittsburgh felt was already losing a step. But he’s an upgrade for the Washington blueline. And those games against the Penguins just got a little more interesting …