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Trotz helped sway free agents to choose Capitals

Jul 6, 2014, 5:31 PM EDT

BarryTrotz Getty Images

Barry Trotz’s first game as Washington’s bench boss in still months away, but he’s already having an impact on what the Capitals look like. He acted as a lead salesperson for the team during the free agent period and helped the seal the deal for some players.

“When I met with Barry and saw what his plan and his vision was,” defenseman Brooks Orpik told CSN Washington, “it was kind of a no-brainer for me, to be honest.”

Orpik wasn’t alone in that sentiment as Matt Niskanen also regards Trotz highly. Meanwhile backup goaltender Justin Peters said Trotz telling him that he wanted Peters to be a member of the Capitals was what ultimately swayed him.

Not that they joined Washington because of Trotz alone. The Capitals handed Orpik a lucrative five-year, $27.5 million contract and Niskanen will earn $40.25 million over seven years. It could be argued that the Capitals overpaid to lure the former Penguins defensemen and some have called the Orpik signing in particular the worst of the summer.

That part of the equation is thanks to the financial muscle the Capitals wield and sets this summer apart from others Trotz had during his days with the Nashville Predators. We’ve seen what Trotz can do with a team that’s forced to spend conservatively. In 2014-15, we’ll see how he handles being the bench boss of a team that spends to the cap.

  1. ravenscaps48 - Jul 6, 2014 at 5:45 PM

    All Hail Barry Trotz!

  2. girouxvy - Jul 6, 2014 at 5:58 PM


  3. Stiller43 - Jul 6, 2014 at 6:09 PM

    No brainer for trotz? Im sure the contract paying you 5 mil+ until youre 39 when youre already considerably slowing down had nothing to do with it….

    Not one other team in the league would have offered near that.

    And the nisky contact was pretty awful too for a second pairing guy. Seems WAS overpaid to get names and grasp at a fix for their D woes,

    • rsmaggiemae - Jul 6, 2014 at 9:12 PM

      So the monopoly man is taking all the credit so if this all fails will he still claim it as his fault. Niskanen is really still unproven, as having one year as a good one with the players he played in Pitts doesnt mean the same thing is going to happen again and again, he stats were not that good before last year
      time will telll

    • imf311 - Jul 6, 2014 at 10:54 PM

      Actually it was reported there was ONE other team negotiating for the same terms/cost for Orpik

      • jpelle82 - Jul 7, 2014 at 12:09 PM

        probably philly….

      • skusterbeck - Jul 10, 2014 at 9:19 AM

        You’re exactly right. The Capitals paid what they had to pay to land the players that they wanted. There where definitely other teams that were willing to pay just as much or more if they could have gotten them. Detroit was all over Nisky but he wanted to go to Washington. Bottom line is that the Capitals signed the Dmen that they wanted and now the team is a lot better because of that. Who cares how much the contracts were for? The team is better and you got the guys that you wanted.

  4. stixzidinia - Jul 6, 2014 at 6:43 PM

    I’m sure the money was more convincing than Trotz was. Horrible, crippling deals they handed out. Orpik was already one step above an orange plastic pylon, and now Trotz has him for 5 years……not that Trotz will be around 5 years though.

    • theageofquarrel - Jul 6, 2014 at 7:09 PM

      Yeah but Craps fan think signing Orpik is the greatest thing since sliced bread. They will find out soon enough how much of a defensive liability he is, Pens fans have been watching it for the last 2 years.

      • pj608 - Jul 6, 2014 at 8:03 PM

        Its not his defensive aspect thats a liability. Its his age and term of the contract.

    • stixzidinia - Jul 7, 2014 at 8:18 AM

      Oh, it’s most definitely his “defensive aspect”. He’s slow, he’s a turnstyle for opposing forwards, he doesn’t clear the crease anymore, and he’s often out of position due to trying for the big hit (and missing).

    • skusterbeck - Jul 10, 2014 at 9:23 AM

      Why are so many whiny Penguins fans on here talking garbage. If you don’t care about losing Orpik and Niskinen, then just shut up and go comment on Penguins related stories. These guys aren’t Penguins anymore. You are all excused.

      • skusterbeck - Jul 10, 2014 at 9:27 AM

        Don’t even say “we’re not Penguins fans” either. You wouldn’t know so much about Orpik decline if you weren’t watching him every game. Fans of other teams wouldn’t know as much as you guys do about Orpik and Niskanin. Just whine somewhere else please. This stuff has nothing to do with you anymore.

  5. har21441 - Jul 6, 2014 at 7:21 PM

    Now: Trots was responsible for these signings, he’s a hero!

    Two years from now: Trots is responsible for these signings, fire him!

  6. broadstreetbeatdown - Jul 6, 2014 at 7:53 PM

    Seeing these two horrible contracts made me thank my lucky stars that Homer is no longer our GM.

  7. stakex - Jul 6, 2014 at 8:30 PM

    Yeah, Trotz my ass…. it was the insane deals those guys were offered that made them choose the Caps.

  8. Eutaw's Finest - Jul 6, 2014 at 8:51 PM


    How many Caps and do you know? I’m one. And I know MANY. And not a single one that I know thinks the Orpik deal was a great deal. At all. Not even close. The Niskanen deal is not as terrible as Pens fans make it sound (notice how only Pitt fans claim it was horrendous despite five teams in a bidding war and Niskanen declared the top D FA- which Pens fans claim “nuh uh Ehrhoff and his older than Orpik self is much better!”). So there’s that. I guess.

    • stixzidinia - Jul 7, 2014 at 8:22 AM

      Pens fans aren’t saying he’s horrible. They’re calling him what he is……..a solid 2nd defensive pairing guy. He’s not an elite 1st pairing guy. Sorry, he’s just not. He had a good contract year, but that’s not who he’s consistently been. The dollars aren’t that bad, but the term kind of sucks. Unless you’re an elite superstar player, you don’t commit for 7 or more years. It’s just dumb business.

    • theageofquarrel - Jul 7, 2014 at 9:46 AM

      How many great defensemen where on the market? Zero.
      Niskanen is a good dman not great so the Caps overpaid for him just like they did for Orpik.
      This Pens fans like many others thought Niskanen was a just OK defenseman when he came over in the Neal trade,then he got better but not great but we didn’t need him to be great just solid.
      Enjoy them until you have to trade them or whatever.
      Like I said before “If you can’t beat them,sign their free agents”.

      • skusterbeck - Jul 10, 2014 at 9:32 AM

        Why is every Penguins fan talking crap about bad contracts. How is Letang’s contract going for you guys? Was that a great contract? Why are you even on here commenting anyway? If you don’t care about losing Orpik and Niskanin, then why are you wasting your time commenting on them?

  9. dipthatchip - Jul 6, 2014 at 9:54 PM

    yeah no one I know, myself included, feels comfortable with the Orpik signing.

    I’m doing everything I can to not get incredibly bummed out and distraught before the season starts. What the hell are we going to do about 2C? Plug glass groin Laich in there again and watch him bring down both of his winger’s stats? Put Kuzy there?


  10. Stiller43 - Jul 7, 2014 at 1:38 AM

    Eutaws finest –

    It seems most teams fans have only caught highlights of this years nisky play and now that he’s a younger FA, they drooled all over him. He’s been a 3rd/2nd pair guy for years on a team not known for their defensive prowess, and WASH signed him to a deal paying him like a top pair guy for SEVEN FRIGGIN YEARS. Im thrilled for nisky (i did want him back, but not anywhere near that price) because he got overpaid and over committed to term wise.

    And 1 yr Ehrhoff >>>>>> Orpik til he’s 38/39 when he’s been on the decline for a year or two solid now

    • stixzidinia - Jul 7, 2014 at 8:28 AM

      Not to mention that, no, Erhoff is not older than Orpik. And yes, he’s consistently been a much better defenseman than Niskanen. It’s not even debatable.

  11. phillyphanatic77 - Jul 7, 2014 at 8:55 AM

    This article is kind of ridiculous to me. Yes, Barry Trotz is at the top of his profession and players surely want to play for him, but there’s still an excellent chance that both Orpik and Niskanen are in Washington no matter who was behind the bench. Maybe it pushed them over the top, but in the end it’s all about those insane contracts.

    How could Orpik turn that deal down? He knew he wasn’t staying in Pittsburgh and he got offered a mega-deal by another eastern conference team in a place where he wouldn’t have to move more than a short plane ride away. I know there are rumors about another team offering a similar contract but I find it hard to believe. He was never mobile to begin with, it’s only getting worse, and besides physicality/leadership he doesn’t bring much else to the table. Honestly, at this stage, does he really bring that much more than Engelland? Niskanen, I’m sure had competing offers, but still the day 1 feeding frenzy looks like the reason both picked Washington; to me anyway.

  12. fearthefangs - Jul 7, 2014 at 2:14 PM

    CAPS are going to be a much better team this year.

  13. pensfan1 - Jul 7, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    Caps do like everyone else does – pay big for past performance. There is no guarantee it will be the same performance once they get the player. Niskanen had a great year but at 27 he’s younger and may have more. Orpik’s last good year was the Cup year but the defense was different. Scuderi was better than him. He managed to stick around when the rest left. He might get you 2 goals per year and he’s not the defensive force on the ice he may have been. The scary (or best part if you’re not a Caps fan) is in a few years when they are bumping the cap they will go through the great dismantling Pittsburgh is this year when all of your cash is wrapped up in half of your players.

  14. vbcaps - Jul 7, 2014 at 9:44 PM

    Everyone can say what they want but time will tell

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