The Caps remain open to bringing back Brooks Orpik, but a reunion is far from guaranteed, general manager Brian MacLellan said on Tuesday.
MacLellan dealt Orpik ahead of last month’s draft to Colorado as a way of dumping the 37-year-old’s untenable $5.5 million salary for next season.
The Avalanche subsequently bought out the final year of Orpik’s contract, making him an unrestricted free agent.
Now, MacLellan is interested in re-signing the veteran at a (significantly) reduced rate.
“We're talking with Brooks,” MacLellan said following Todd Reirden’s introductory news conference at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.
It’s unclear what exactly the Caps and Orpik’s camp have discussed, but MacLellan would seem to have enough cap space to a get a deal done.
The Caps are $8.26 million under the $79.5 million ceiling, according to www.capfiendly, with only restricted free agents Tom Wilson and Madison Bowey left to sign.
MacLellan indicated that the decision now lies with Orpik, whose steady play and leadership was essential for the Caps during their run to the Stanley Cup.
“He’s making some decisions himself, and hopefully we might be able to work it out,” MacLellan said.
Translation: if he gets a better offer elsewhere he could take it; if he doesn’t, there’s a good chance he’s playing in Washington again next winter.
The Caps already have five of their six blue liners—John Carlson, Michal Kempny, Matt Niskanen, Dmitry Orlov and Christian Djoos—from last year’s championship roster under contract. And because Bowey is an RFA, he’s virtually assured to return, as well.
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