Trotz helped sway free agents to choose Capitals

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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.