The reunion comes one month after the Capitals included Orpik in the trade that sent Philipp Grubauer to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for a second-round draft pick. The Avalanche waived Orpik, who had one year left on his deal with a $5.5 million cap hit, and bought out his contract.
The move allowed the Capitals more cap space to sign John Carlson to an eight-year deal before he hit free agency. Now, Washington brings back the same player for $4.5 million less than originally expected.
Orpik, who will turn 38 before next season begins, played 81 regular season games for the Capitals. He led the team with 168 blocked shots, recorded 10 assists and anchored the third defensive pairing, mentoring an otherwise young group of Washington blueliners.
He snapped an NHL-worst 220-game goalless streak (counting regular season and playoffs) by scoring the game-winning goal in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.
“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,” general manager Brian MacLellan said in a statement. “We feel his leadership and competitiveness on and off the ice will be welcomed back to our group.”
Orpik did not lose much on his end of the deal. He will receive $4 million from Colorado over the next two years for the buyout of his old contract. Provided Orpik earns his performance bonuses, Washington and Colorado will combine to pay him the $5.5 million he was originally set to earn next season.
After re-signing Madison Bowey last week, the Capitals now have seven of last year’s options on the blue line. Only Jakub Jerabek remains an unrestricted free agent, and at this point, is likely to return to Washington.
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