Brooks Orpik was traded from Washington, bought out by Colorado and re-signed by Washington. The NHL had a few questions over how it all went down.

Brian MacLellan pulled off a brilliant move in the offseason by trading away Brooks Orpik then re-signing him for a much smaller cap hit after he was bought out of his contract. The move was so good in fact, that the NHL had a few concerns about it.

In his 31 Thoughts column published on Friday, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported the league had a few “concerns” regarding how the Capitals reacquired Orpik.

According to Friedman, “A couple of weeks ago, the league notified the individual clubs that it reviewed the situation, and explained its concerns. Teams viewed the memo as a warning, that if the NHL could make an example of someone, it would.”

Though not implicitly stated, it seems reasonable to assume the league’s issue was whether the Capitals intentionally circumvented the salary cap and buyout rules.

When a team buys a player out of his contract, by rule they cannot re-sign him for a full calendar year. Washington traded Orpik and his $5.5 million cap hit to the Colorado Avalanche and then re-signed him after he was bought out for a cap hit of only $1 million. The Caps ultimately walked away with Orpik still on the team, but with an extra $4.5 million in cap space.


MacLellan was asked about the league’s concerns Friday at the team’s media day.

"They put us through questioning,” he said. “We did everything above board, and we answered the questions honestly. There was no repercussions, so I think we're good."

When asked further if the issue had been resolved, he said, “Yes, we’re good.”

The Associated Press also reported Friday that deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed the league had found nothing amiss with Orpik’s situation.

When you pull off a move that is so good it makes people question whether it is even legal, MacLellan should wear this as a badge of honor.