F Street Faithful
by Matthew Tate on 07/01/14 at 03:55 PM ET
When the Capitals made the announcement that former Assistant General Manager Brian MacLellan would be taking over his old boss' place, there was a fair amount of concern that we would be getting the same old deal. With today's mega-signing of Brooks Orpik, I think we are seeing something different in the new GM, but it isn't the good kind of different.
Now, before fans start shouting about how Brooks Orpik is better than the options of John Erskine or Connor Carrick, let me just say that Orpik does make the Caps' blueline better. He brings over 700 games of experience at the NHL level, including a Stanley Cup ring. That's without a doubt something that no other play currently on this blueline can boast. If you are purely looking at those stats, you have to be happy. But, as always, there is so much more.
Brooks Orpik is currently 33 years old. For the vast majority of NHL players, that is the beginning of the decline. And looking at Orpik's past two years in Pittsburgh, it's clear that the decline has already started. That also means that this 5-year contract will run until he is 38 years old For a player who has never once shown something akin to top-level skating, that is a serious concern. He really can't afford to lose any of his mobility, which is pretty much a guarantee at some point in this contract.
Then there's the money. Orpik just saw an end to a 6-year, $22.5 mil contract with the Penguins. This was a contract that saw the peak of Orpik's career. And I'm sure he feels like he undersold himself when that deal went into effect at the beginning of the 2008-2009 season (right before Orpik helped the Pens to a Stanley Cup). It makes sense that he wants to be compensated for money he thinks he lost in those years. But did the Capitals really have to give it to him?
Brooks Orpik's new 5-year, $27.5 mil deal makes him the second-highest paid player on the Capitals blueline as it stands today (fourth highest among all players). That's a terrible spot for the Caps to be in. First, it just ties up way too much money for what will amount to a second-pairing defenseman (paired with the highest-paid blueliner in Mike Green). On top of that, imagine what doors this opens up for John Carlson and Karl Alzner when they need to be re-signed in a few years (both come up for new contracts during Orpik's five-year deal). Even further, it makes it ridiculously difficult to move him if they see the need. By the way, both Christian Ehrhoff and Anton Stralman signed more cap-friendly deals than this today.
So, now the Capitals are left with about $6.2 million to finish out their roster (which appears to not include Grabovski).
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Welcome to the home of the F Street Faithful, run by Matthew Tate. This is a go-to blog for all things related to the Washington Capitals. The F Street Faithful is 5% news and 95% breaking down the news.
In the past I have written for several other sports blogs as well as the college newspaper while at York College of Pennsylvania. I am a graduate of York College of Pennsylvania but am based out of Southern Maryland.
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