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Anything Fishy With Brooks Orpik’s Signing In Washington?

from Jared Clinton of The Hockey News,

Brooks Orpik was traded by the Capitals, bought out by the Avalance and re-signed in Washington all within the span of little more than one month....

Orpik should thank his agent and accountant for the way this whole situation has shaken out, too, while also taking solace in the fact he might not lose so much as a cent in overall salary despite his new deal carrying a substantially lower cap hit. The buyout from Colorado will pay Orpik $1.5 million this coming campaign and another $1.5 million next summer. Add in the potential to earn $1.5 million in Washington if he meets both bonuses and some grade-school math gives us a total of $4.5 million in earnings for Orpik. Sure, the money is spread over two campaigns instead of one, but this is about the best possible outcome for which the veteran blueliner could have asked.

Orpik’s signing has raised more than a few eyebrows, though, with some calling it a cap-circumventing deal that has essentially allowed the Capitals to retain the defenseman’s services from one season to the next while saving at $4.5 million against the cap for the upcoming season. And while there are rules against a team buying out and subsequently re-signing that player within a one-year period, Orpik’s deal technically doesn’t fall into that category as it was the Avalanche who exercised the buyout option.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brooks+orpik

Comments

Primis's avatar

Nothing “fishy”.  They traded his rights.  Once they did that, they no longer had any control over what happened next.

That the Avs stupidly took him on and then bought him out, is their problem.  And once they did that, he’s a UFA.

I’m more wondering why the Caps are bothering to bring him back at all.

Posted by Primis on 07/26/18 at 07:46 AM ET

NHLJeff's avatar

Seriously? The Avs “stupidly” took him on? They wanted Grubauer— that was part of the deal, and they had the cap space to handle the buyout. Why is that stupid?

Posted by NHLJeff from Pens fan in Denver on 07/26/18 at 08:11 AM ET

Tripwire32's avatar

Orpik’s signing has raised more than a few eyebrows, though, with some calling it a cap-circumventing deal that has essentially allowed the Capitals to retain the defenseman’s services from one season to the next while saving at $4.5 million against the cap for the upcoming season.

yes because the caps colluded with the avs in order for the avs to spend $3m towards the capitals payroll. good stuff

Posted by Tripwire32 from Kay He Mar Heart on 07/26/18 at 08:25 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

Nothing “fishy”.  They traded his rights.  Once they did that, they no longer had any control over what happened next.

The deal is what it is, but this view seems a bit naive.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 07/26/18 at 09:01 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

I do have to wonder if this was all part of the deal between Washington and Col, because if Col didn’t want him, they could have at least traded him. 

Definitely fishy.

Posted by TreKronor on 07/26/18 at 09:02 AM ET

Tripwire32's avatar

I do have to wonder if this was all part of the deal

This is an interested point. The league, LLC does frown on the exchange of cash between franchises for player contracts, but it doesn’t mean it cannot happen. Perhaps this arrangement was a wink & nudge deal in order for each franchise to make an exchange. Though I’m not sure why the avs would want to carry dead cap space. Then again, admittedly, I don’t really care about the financial health of the avs either. They can have at it.

Posted by Tripwire32 from Kay He Mar Heart on 07/26/18 at 09:23 AM ET

Avatar

they could have at least traded him.

Washington needed to force him on another team that wanted their backup goalie, what reason is there to think Colorado would’ve been able to trade him?

Posted by CharDeeMacDennis on 07/26/18 at 09:33 AM ET

Primis's avatar

Seriously? The Avs “stupidly” took him on? They wanted Grubauer— that was part of the deal, and they had the cap space to handle the buyout. Why is that stupid?

Posted by NHLJeff from Pens fan in Denver on 07/26/18 at 09:11 AM ET

Yes, the Avs took on an expensive contract they didn’t want so they could buy it out, all so they could get a backup goalie.

Sorry, that’s stupid.

Posted by Primis on 07/26/18 at 10:07 AM ET

Avatar

There’s definitely some risk but it’s not stupid if Grubauer proves to be a legit #1 goalie locked in at 3.3mil for a few years. Obviously that’s TBD.  Given Varlamov’s injury history and contract being up after this season it seems like a decent gamble.

Posted by Steve1306 on 07/26/18 at 11:27 AM ET

dreamsofhope's avatar

  Seriously? The Avs “stupidly” took him on? They wanted Grubauer— that was part of the deal, and they had the cap space to handle the buyout. Why is that stupid?

  Posted by NHLJeff from Pens fan in Denver on 07/26/18 at 09:11 AM ET

Yes, the Avs took on an expensive contract they didn’t want so they could buy it out, all so they could get a backup goalie.

Sorry, that’s stupid.

Posted by Primis on 07/26/18 at 11:07 AM ET

It’s interesting. Today, I was thinking about how trades just kind of happen differently when a team feels like it has most of the pieces and have just a few things they wanna fix. Living in Denver, I saw the Avs down the stretch this year, and in the playoffs. They had some serious goaltender issues and along with losing their #1D, they played decently in the first round regardless. Varlamov is a good goalie, and I think they could be really good with him in net, but it seems like there’s always something. At times when they need him most or they’re streaking, he gets hurt, or something happens, and he’s gone. So I don’t see Grubauer as simply a backup goalie for the Avs. Unless Varlamov can stay healthy all year (and the last year he did that he was really good), Grubauer is a potential #1. Furthermore, Varlamov is on the last year of his contract. This was something the Avs were willing to be aggressive on because it had hurt them in the past, they think they’re close (MacKinnon is really, really good), and they saw an opportunity for a perfect fit. Whether they’re right or wrong, I wouldn’t use the word “stupid.” I’d say it was really calculated. But if what you’re trying to say is you don’t think Grubauer has upside, then I’d say the word “gamble” is more accurate.

How this all ties in to the Orpik trade… perhaps the Avs inquired about the keeper, and they got a better deal if they took Orpik. Maybe the ask was something they didn’t want to give up, another piece they had identified as being necessary down the road, and so they did a cost assessment. Perhaps to them, the dead cap space was the “cheaper,” option.

I remember thinking how strange it was that the Avs bought him out. It seemed like it wasn’t justified even before I knew what was going on. I actually was impressed the Avs got Orpik, hoping they had a role for him that he’d be likely to succeed in. They still have some issues on defense. I know he’s old but I could have seen it working, so when they bought him out I was like, “what?!” When I saw this headline today, I was immediately suspicious that’s what was going on the whole time. It makes it more likely in my mind that this is what the Capitals had in mind, wanting to keep him. Orpik knew it too, gets bought out, and goes straight back. It is possible, it was all happenstance, but so many things make that seem like the less likely of the two.

Is it cap circumvention? I guess I don’t really know what that means. Players are rewarded for being clever, coaches are rewarded for cleverness, but it seems GMs and Execs get punished for it. To me, cleverness, seeing the rules of the cap and being able to find a way to use those rules while still clearing space… that’s brilliance. And if the League doesn’t want it happening, they should just create additional or clarifying rules. That’s why I never understood the cap circumvention penalty rule that was imposed on teams after the fact. I just thought GM’s/Capologists who figured that out were really clever.

Posted by dreamsofhope from Colorado on 07/26/18 at 11:50 AM ET

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