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Brooks Orpik returns to Capitals one month after trade, buyout

2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 07: Brooks Orpik #44 of the Washington Capitals hoists the Stanley Cup after his team defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 in Game Five of the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final at T-Mobile Arena on June 7, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Last month, Brooks Orpik was traded from the Washington Capitals as part of a deal that sent Philipp Grubauer to the Colorado Avalanche. Now, 32 days later, he’s back with his old team.

The Capitals announced on Tuesday that they’ve signed the 37-year-old defenseman to a one-year, $1 million deal. There are also performance bonuses included that could add another $500,000 to the total.

“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,” said Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan. “We feel his leadership and competitiveness on and off the ice will be welcomed back to our group.”

Orpik was partnered on the Capitals’ third pairing with Christian Djoss during the Cup Final, a spot he’ll likely retain given that the entire group is returning.

Three days after the trade, the Avalanche bought out the final season of Orpik’s deal, which puts $2.5 million and $1.5 million on their salary cap over the next two seasons, respectively. They also managed to get their likely future No. 1 goaltender out of it. The Capitals, meanwhile, were able to clear the $5.5 million cap hit off their books, allowing them to open the wallet and bring back John Carlson, Michal Kempny and Devante Smith-Pelly. They currently have a little over $6 million left in space with only restricted free agent Tom Wilson left to re-sign, per Cap Friendly.

Through these moves MacLellan saved on the cap, acquired a second-round pick (Kody Clark) and kept his Stanley Cup winning blue line intact. He also managed to dump a bad contract to another team, let them take the buy out hit, and then bring Orpik, who apparently couldn’t find interest elsewhere in free agency, back on a cheap deal. Nice work, GMBM.


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.