Skip to content

Orpik mum on new deal with Pens: ‘I’d rather not talk about it’

Sep 17, 2013, 11:19 AM EDT

brooksorpikgetty Getty Images

The longest-tenured Penguin isn’t saying anything about a contract extension in Pittsburgh.

“No comment,” Brooks Orpik told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about whether he’s talked to the team about a new deal. “I’d rather not talk about it.”

Orpik, 32, is in the final year of a six-year, $22.5 million deal, one that carries an average annual cap hit of $3.75 million.

The big-bodied defenseman has been a tremendous foot soldier for the club since debuting in 2002-03. He’s appeared in 631 games (the most by a Pittsburgh defenseman) and played 87 postseason contests, including all 24 en route to the team’s Stanley Cup championship in 2009.

The Pens were also extremely reliant on Orpik during the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign.

He averaged 22:17 TOI per game during the regular season — the second-highest total of his career — then upped his minutes per game to 25:08 in the playoffs, the highest of his career.

Despite all that, Orpik’s time as a Penguin might be coming to a close.

Pittsburgh’s dedicated large sums of money to Letang ($7.25 million a season until 2022) and Rob Scuderi, who’ll earn $3.375 annually until 2017. Martin still has one year left at $5 million, and the incoming wave of young blueline prospects — Derrick Pouliot, Olli Maatta, Scott Harrington and Brian Dumoulin — suggests Orpik might not be around past this season.

Because of that, he’s going into his UFA year with a survivalist’s mentality.

“I don’t know how many spots are open or how many guys are so-called locks,” Orpik explained. “That’s for other people to decide. We don’t really get that information.

“So, no matter who you are, you always have something to prove going into the season.”

  1. pitpenguinsrulez - Sep 17, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    I do believe this is his last season here in pittsburgh. If Shero resigns him then the question will be; Why have you drafted so many defensive prospects but yet you won’t use any of them? Or something similar to that. Orpik has been a solid fixture on the blueline but with time and age he’s become a bit slow and does get burned a bit more often by the opposing team.

    • hockey412 - Sep 17, 2013 at 11:45 AM

      They haven’t drafted many defensive guys though, mostly puck-movers. Maatta maybe, Dumoulin possibly. Borts is a third pairing guy. I think Martin goes after this year. Still think Niskanen is out this year, too. Engellands gone after this one…so there’s 3 spots open for prospects.

      • bmscalise - Sep 17, 2013 at 2:33 PM

        The Pens look for good puck movers because that’s the nature of the game: doesn’t mean they aren’t defensively oriented. Look at Paul Martin – he’s a great skater and strong puck-mover, but he’s also a superb stick-checker and hardly one to lead a rush into the offensive zone, like Letang. That’s why he’s half of a good shut-down pair.

        In fact, the only Letang-type player of the young prospects is Pouliot, now that Morrow has been traded. Harrington projects to be more in the Scuderi mold; Maatta is more of a hybrid, Suter-type, which is why the organization is so excited about him. Dumoulin and Bortuzzo are ready to play 3rd-pairing minutes in the NHL. There’s also Phil Samuelsson, who has become one of WBS’s best PKers and a possible option for a 3rd pairing in the next couple of years. All of these guys are more grind-it-out/shut-down guys.

        I’m not saying Orpik won’t get resigned – but it isn’t an obvious answer. I’d say do it if he would sign for a couple of years. But he won’t: he’ll want at least four. So tell me how you fit in 2-3 years:
        Letang
        Scuderi
        Harrington
        Maatta
        Pouliot
        Despres
        Dumoulin
        Bortuzzo
        and then Orpik on top of it.

        The Pens need to get younger. They want for certain the top 5 guys on that list long-term (or have already signed them long-term). Orpik bring a lot and losing him would hurt, but I’m not sure how plausible resigning him is.

      • hockey412 - Sep 18, 2013 at 8:22 AM

        It’s more about what they can offer at this point in time on the ice defensively. Yes, Martin is a good stick checker – on a defense that is for the most part soft. He’s a great player – but HIS replacements are there being developed…Orpik’s are not. It’s a weakness of the defense, which is why they brough in Murray last year. If he wants four years, you’re right, that’s going to be tough, he’ll want an NMC too.

        I think there’s more time to develop these prospects than people think. Maatta is 19 for gad’s sake, Harrington is 20, Poulliot, Pouliot is 19…these guys are the future of the D, but not the immediate future – all showed very well in preseason so far. Despres will be gone in a few years unless his decision making improves, it’s painful to watch. In two years Borts contract is up, as is Dumoulin…we’ll see how that goes…but there will always be the opportunity to make room on half the second line and the third, based on these contracts. This will all be interesting, and maybe you’re right, maybe there’s no way – I just can’t see the Pens replacing what Orpik brings.

    • c9castine - Sep 17, 2013 at 6:26 PM

      you can have whatever perception you want but orpik is one of the most sound defensive defenseman in the league. thats backed up by statistics that i dont understand. im not sure if that means hell sign or not, but you dont not sign a guy because of what might be. despres pouliot maata dumolin harrington will all get their shot but not all of them will be penguins for too long.

  2. hockey412 - Sep 17, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    Unless it’s his decision not to stay I don’t see him going anywhere…Shero admitted (and everyone has noticed) that the style of defense that Orpik and Scuds play is what the Pens need more of. Brining in Scuds and letting Orpik walk makes no sense.

    Martin has two years left, and while he is definitely necessary this year, his replacements are in the pipeline and ready to get some more time this year and then do it full time on the second pairing next year. No one is there to replace Orpik, at least not yet. Bortuzzo isn’t there, Dumoulin might get there, but isn’t yet.

    • c9castine - Sep 17, 2013 at 6:28 PM

      yeah, martin, as good as he is and all, will be let go when his contract expires like gonch. niskanen wont be around then, nor engelland, and the young bucks will be ready.

      • hockey412 - Sep 18, 2013 at 7:55 AM

        I don’t think Martin will last the final year – he’ll make it through this year though. With Letang’s new contract kicking in after this year I think they’ll move him after this year.

  3. laxman1944 - Sep 17, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    I would not be worried. Brooks will get paid quite nicely by any number of teams next year.

  4. withseidelinn - Sep 17, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    Not saying he won’t resign, but if he goes to the free agent market he is the exact type of player the Leafs need to round out their defense corps.

  5. lostpuppysyndrome - Sep 17, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    Why does his mum have anything to do with his contract? Is she his legal guardian?

  6. chanceoffleury1 - Sep 17, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    If I had to call it I’d say Orpik stays and Martin goes. There’s definitely a loyalty factor that could impact it and I think Orpik will retire a Penguin. Martins minutes will be easier to replace with prospects. Orpik really won’t require a huge raise either.

  7. killerpgh - Sep 17, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    The Penguins “let” Orpik test free agency last time. Orpik’s didn’t re-sign with the Pens until the 2nd or 3rd day of free agency. And this was while Therrien was still the coach and those 2 didn’t get along according to the media. It didn’t help that Iron Mike would lay into Brooks (and all players) and even put Orpik on the 4th line as a winger just to piss him off a little more. I wouldn’t be surprised if Brooks is on the Penguins next year or not. No clue how this will play out.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. D. Alfredsson (1353)
  2. S. Bennett (1303)
  3. D. Kuemper (1299)
  4. P. Rinne (1264)
  5. K. Timonen (1224)