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.”