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Checking In On Brooks Orpik

December 26, 2014, 9:00 AM ET [92 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
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The Penguins are set to take on the Washington Capitals tomorrow for the first time this season and with that brings the first time that Brooks Orpik will play against the Penguins.

Brooks Orpik is a former first round draft pick of the Penguins from 2000, a Stanley Cup Champion, and Alternative Captain for the Penguins. He also has played more games at defense (703) than any other player in Penguins history.

Orpik signed a massive 5 year 27.5M contract with the Capitals this past July. Given the Penguins organizational depth at the defense position it was incredibly wise for them to pass on giving out a big contract to a 34 year old physical "defensive" defenseman who is trending downward.

This is a contract that I can't imagine will pay dividends for the Capitals. Here is Orpik's usage this year for Washington.

Orpik is in a familiar spot. He is in a shutdown role and his bubble is big and red. He has been typecast as a shutdown defenseman but the puck is in his end a majority of the time. A real shutdown defenseman has similar usage but a bubble that is blue or at least a smaller red bubble.

The Penguins made the correct decision by cutting ties with Orpik. Their only mistake was probably not trading him away for assets to another team who buys into the fact he is successful in this role.

Orpik's level of play hasn't been that good for a number of years, his spot in the lineup has blocked such promising players as Simon Despres.

It is the Capitals issue now.


The Penguins only have one player in the World Junior Championships this year. Conveniently Kasperi Kapanen and Finland will take on the United States today at 3 PM. So if you are looking to check out the Penguins young sniper, you'll have that opportunity today.

Tomorrow we'll check back in with Matt Niskanen.

Thanks for reading!

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