“We would like to thank Brooks and Philipp for all of their contributions to our organization,” senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan said in the Capitals’ press release. “Philipp has been a consummate professional and a great teammate and we wish him all the best. Brooks was a great leader and a tremendous role model for our young players in his four years with our organization. This was a difficult move, but the one we felt we needed to make in order to give some flexibility moving forward.”
Moving Orpik and his $5.5-million cap hit clears up some much-needed cap space for the Stanley Cup champions going into the off-season, especially considering star defenceman John Carlson’s status as a pending unrestricted free agent. Grubauer is also in need of a new deal as a pending restricted free agent.
Grubauer, 26, is coming off his busiest season yet with Washington. He picked up 28 starts (15-10-3), often filling in for starter Braden Holtby down the stretch. He posted a 2.35 goals against average and .923 save percentage with three shutouts to win the starting position to open the post-season, but was bumped to backup beginning with Game 3 of the first round.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Avalanche won’t be holding onto Orpik for long. The heavy-hitting 37-year-old will either be flipped to a club looking to add a veteran presence or will have the final year of his deal bought out by Colorado.
Orpik registered 10 assists in 81 games with the Capitals in 2017-18 and scored his third career playoff goal during the Stanley Cup Final against the Vegas Golden Knights this spring.