Washington Capitals 2017 Season Review: Brooks Orpik

Brooks Orpik had an up and down season for the Washington Capitals during the 2016-17 season. And it might be his last one with them.

The Washington Capitals are going to face some very difficult decisions this offseason. One of them will revolve around defenseman Brooks Orpik. He’s coming off an alright season for the Capitals, but his future is in question.

Orpik saw his playing time decrease, and predictably, his efficiency rose. But with the salary cap potentially not rising, the Capitals might have to buy him out or trade him while retaining salary.

All stats, unless otherwise noted, are at even strength. Corsi and goals for numbers are adjusted. Stats courtesy of Hockey Analysis.

2016-17 Stats

Boxcar

GoalsAssistsPointsPP points5v5 pointsPlus-minusPenalty MinutesBlocked ShotsHitsTOI per game
01414014324813218117:47

Rates

5v5 Goals/605v5 assists/605v5 primary assists/605v5 points/605v5 iCorsi/60PP goals/60PP assists/60PP points/60
00.660.300.668.87000

Possession

CorsiFor%Rel. CorsiFor60Rel. CorsiAgainst60Rel. CorsiFor%GoalsFor%Rel. GoalsFor60Rel. Goals Against60Rel. GoalsFor%
52.51.23-1.371.263.9-0.09-0.293.3

The Good

Orpik did better this season than in his last two with the Capitals. He finished the season with a positive relative CorsiFor percentage for his first time in Washington and for the first time since 2007-08. Orpik was the team’s most efficient penalty killer, having the largest impact on shot attempts against while down a man.

He was among the NHL’s leaders in plus-minus. It might be a very telling stat, but at the end of the day, results are important. Orpik didn’t allow many goals and the Capitals scored a lot with him on the ice. That counts for something.

The Bad

As far as goals against, Orpik wasn’t a good penalty killer, finishing last on the Capitals in relative goals against while shorthanded. Also, a lot of his good possession stats came because he got to play with Nate Schmidt. Let’s look at his numbers with and without Smiley.

StatWith SchmidtWithout Schmidt
CF%56.349.2
GF%65.862.2

 

Also, Orpik was terrible during the postseason, with just two assists in 13 games and a plus-minus rating of -7. Most of the goals he was on the ice for were a direct result of mistakes by him.

Future

Orpik is a fine third pairing defenseman and he’s a quality penalty killer. Considering Karl Alzner’s leaving, the latter is quite important. However, Orpik has never justified his massive contract given to him in the 2014 offseason. Has he just had his last good year? That’s a fair question, at this point. What isn’t a question is Orpik isn’t worth a $5.5 million cap hit to the Capitals.

Brian MacLellan said he wouldn’t use buyouts, but don’t be surprised if number 44 isn’t on the Capitals next season. He could be traded or the Caps could pay the Vegas Golden Knights to take him.

Discussion

Should Orpik be on the Capitals next season? Would you buy him out? Discuss these questions and more in the comments.