Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik didn’t know head coach Barry Trotz going into the offseason, but he wanted to change that before he signed a contract as an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Orpik reached out to a lot of players that worked under Trotz in Nashville and was encouraged by what he heard.
“I didn’t hear one bad thing, hockey-wise or person-wise,” Orpik said, per CSN Washington. “Human being-wise, that kind of trumped all the hockey-related opinions I got from guys. To be honest, there were a couple guys I talked with where it didn’t really work out for them in Nashville hockey-wise, and even those guys had nothing bad to say about him.
“I had a pretty good feel before I even met with him and when I met with him on that Sunday I told my wife after, ‘It’s going to be hard to call a couple teams back and tell them no, but it would be even harder to call Barry back and tell him no.’ We were struggling right ‘til the last day there and that pretty much sealed it for me.”
Orpik noted that Trotz had the entire rosters’ “respect and attention” right off the bat.
Trotz and Orpik are new to the organization and will be under increased scrutiny as a result. Both have plenty to prove, but Orpik is arguably joining the Capitals under a different light given that his five-year, $27.5 million contract has been widely criticized.