Last night, the first trade of Draft day made headlines when the Colorado Avalanche and the Washington Capitals came to terms on a trade deal. It was reported that the Capitals are trading soon to be restricted free agent goaltender Philipp Grubauer as well as veteran defenseman Brooks Orpik to the Avalanche in exchange for Colorado's second round pick in the 2018 National Hockey League Entry Draft.
While it made sense to see the Caps trying to make some financial room to make sure they can sign defenseman and pending free agent John Carlson to a hefty contract extension by moving fellow blue liner Orpik, it is quite surprising to see the twist of events on Saturday.
According to TSN's Ryan Rishaug, Orpik has been placed on waivers on Saturday.
Orpik is in the final year of a deal that counts against the NHL's salary cap for a total of $5,500,000 per season and you can bet nearly all of that cap space will be utilized to get Carlson to sign a new deal and remain in Washington.
The Avalanche might have tried to move Orpik to another team last night, or even earlier today, but it now seems like he is hitting the waiver wire to then be able to shop himself for a new deal as an unrestricted free agent.
The 37-year-old Orpik was a respected alternate captain who got the Cup third after Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom when Washington won its first title in franchise history. The rugged defenseman played almost 20 minutes a game in four seasons with the Capitals and scored the winning goal in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against Vegas.
He also won a Stanley Cup back in 2009 with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
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. The veteran blue liner suffered a horrible hand injury during the final, but did not miss any game time.
After the Caps all hoisted the Cup and headed to the dressing room to keep the party going, Orpik revealed to Los Angeles Times reporter Helene Elliott that "his injured finger was basically falling off."
Let's hope the feeling of being placed on waivers is not as painful as the finger injury...