37-Year-Old Defenseman – Washington Capitals
Brooks Orpik Contract Information:
Signed a five-year, $27.5 million contact with the Capitals in July 2014.
Head coach Barry Trotz indicated he expects to pair Orpik with John Carlson on the second pair to start the season, Isabelle Khurshudyan of The Washington Post reports.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Orpik spent a good chunk of 2014-15 paired with John Carlson, and the two chewed up the majority of the Caps’ tough minutes. He performed admirably in that role and even put up his best offensive production (19 points) since 2009-10. But Orpik's real value lies in the specialty categories of hits and blocked shots -- his totals of 306 and 192 were good enough for third and fourth in the league, respectively. It remains to be seen whether he’ll lineup with Carlson again this season. Now that Mike Green is gone, coach Barry Trotz may juggle his defense pairs and put Orpik and Matt Niskanen together. That won’t hurt any of those specialty numbers, so punch Orpik's ticket if you need dominance in those categories.
A good soldier for his entire career in Pittsburgh, the five-year, $27.5 contract offered by Washington raised many eyebrows this summer. Although Orpik has been a dependable defenseman for many years, the 33-year-old has logged many tough miles in his NHL career, and $5.5 million is a lot of money for a player who could be past his prime in the not-too-distant future. While the contract may hamstring the Capitals in years to come, there is little doubt that Orpik makes the team better in the short-term, although with less than 20 points in six of his last seven seasons, Orpik’s fantasy value lies solely with peripheral categories like hits and blocked shots, so he isn’t likely to be a factor in standard leagues.
In a concession to Father Time, Orpik's pertinent fantasy numbers shifted in 2012-13. The Pens' longest tenured skater, Orpik downsized hitting while improving his shot-blocking totals. The defender still registered a respectable 119 hits, but he raised his blocked shots to 114. He underwent sports hernia surgeries in consecutive offseasons a couple summers ago and they've impacted his game a bit. Orpik failed to score a single goal and tallied just eight assists in 47 games. Fantasy owners looking for a solid plus-minus rating -- he finished plus-17 last season -- and a combination of hits and blocked shots should still keep the 33-year-old on radar.
From a fantasy perspective, Orpik is all about hitting. He led the team with 259 hits and finished second with 139 blocked shots. The physical defender has never scored more than two goals or totaled more than 25 points in any of his nine NHL seasons. The phrase "what you see, is what you get" fits Orpik perfectly. He might help the Penguins contend for a Stanley Cup, but it's doubtful he wins fantasy owners a championship.
Orpik represents the heart and soul of the Penguins' defense. Unfortunately, he can't find a way to stay healthy. The rugged blueliner underwent his second hernia surgery in as many summers and may miss the first month of the 2011-12 season. Orpik doesn't score enough to warrant much fantasy consideration, unless hits (194) or blocked shots (94) are included in league categories. The 31-year-old scored just one goal and added 12 helpers in 63 games last year and is likely to continue upon that pace in 2011-12.
Orpik's penalty minutes have taken a dive since the earlier stages of his career (he had two seasons of 100-plus PIMs), but more importantly, he set career highs in points (2G, 23A) in the 2009-10 season. His shot totals were up (61 shots versus 39 in 08-09) but he still won't sink more than a couple goals per season. Instead, he is a ferocous checker that puts fear in the face of opposing forwards. It will be interesting to see if Orpik grumbles about his salary after the Pens spent more money on both Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek in the offseason.
On the surface, Orpik's pedestrian numbers -- including a career-high 19 points -- won't titilate too many fantasy hockey owners. He did collect 73 penalty minutes, but where his real fantasy value comes from is in the hits and blocked shots categories. Orpik ranked second in the NHL with 309 hits and 22nd with 152 blocked shots. He's the only Pittsburgh player opponent' fear behind the blue line and his health will go a long way toward determining goalie Marc-Andre Fleury's numbers for the season.
Orpik finished sixth in the NHL with 239 hits in 78 games. The Pens blueliner, who also blocked 125 shots, toned down his penalty minutes and saw his PIM drop to a career-low 57 minutes. That said, fantasy owners don't really need him from a points perspective -- Orpik scored just one goal and added 10 assists in the regular season.
It took a while for Orpik to adjust to the new skating style of the NHL but the big defender seems to have made the transition. This is obviously good news for the team because he no longer takes ticky-tacky penalties, but for fantasy owners his only true value -- penalty minutes -- takes a hit. Orpik finished with 82 PIM in 70 games after collecting 124 PIM in 64 contests the previous season. Still, he's on the ice for his bone-crushing checks and rarely scores -- he had no goals and six assists for the season.
The 6-foot-2, 228-pound defender was the poster child for the old style of defensive play for the first half of the 2005-06 season. It seemed as if Orpik couldn't make it through a game without taking a ticky-tack penalty at exactly the wrong time in the game. Something clicked midway through the campaign and he was basicallly able to reinvent his style of play. For the last couple months of the season, Orpik was able to contribute to the team in a positive way. He totalled nine points (2,7) in 64 games, finishing with 124 penalty minutes. Orpik might have a target on his back whenever he plays against the Hurricanes. The 25-year-old blueliner ended Erik Cole's regular season early with a questionable hit in front of the boards.