One of the Penguins' longest tenured players in franchise history has joined one of of their bitterest rivals.
Longtime defenseman Brooks Orpik has signed a five-year contract worth a total of $27.5 million with the Capitals. His salary cap hit will be $5.5 million.
Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $3.75 million, Orpik, 33, appeared in 72 games last season and scored 13 points (two goals, 11 assists).
A first-round pick in 2000 (No. 18 overall), Orpik spent parts of 11 season at the NHL level with the Penguins. Orpik appeared in 703 regular season games for the Penguins, fifth-most in franchise history, and scored 132 points (13 goals, 119 assists).
EN Says: Wow. Just wow.
Orpik's season ended prematurely with an ugly knee injury during the second round of the playoffs against the Rangers. When you consider his age, the laundry list of injuries had as dealt with in recent season and his up and down 2012-13 season, how can this not be seen as a gross overpayment?
Orpik's connection with Capitals assistant coach Todd Reirden presumably played a role in this signing. Orpik had success in 2012-13 playing on a pairing with Paul Martin under Reirden who oversaw the defense with the Penguins.
If Orpik is worth this kind of money, what is Matt Niskanen worth?
Regarding his departure from the Penguins, it was time. Combined with so many young players on the blue line ready to for a role in the NHL, Orpik age and injuries left no room for him in Pittsburgh.
A member of the 2009 Stanley Cup championship team, Orpik was one of the first pieces of that team acquired when he was drafted in 2000. He was here before Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Marc-Andre Fleury and played on some pretty rotten teams in the mid-2000s. He was one of the few reasons for optimism during a pretty dark time in the franchise history.
Over time, Orpik developed into a mostly reliable top-four defenseman who stood out for his physical play at the height of his Penguins career and helped the franchise claim its third Stanley Cup title.
(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)