Orpik joins Pens' bargain line
Brooks Orpik awoke Wednesday with a list of three teams, down from 10 the previous day, of which he could have signed a contract with to play hockey next season and beyond.
He was waiting for one of those clubs to make the decision for him, and the Penguins acquiesced -- much to his relief.
"Deep down, I always knew Pittsburgh was the place I would be happiest," said Orpik, who inked a six-year contract worth $22.5 million to continue playing defense with the Penguins. "After the year we had and knowing the young core of guys we have coming back for that much longer ...
"I thought, 'If guys like (Sidney Crosby) and (Evgeni Malkin) can take less, everybody else can, too, including me."
The offers Orpik, 27, could have accepted from two other teams -- one of which was the Atlantic Division rival New York Rangers - would have paid him a higher annual salary.
But on a day the Penguins officially announced a five-year extension with Malkin for $43.5 million, Orpik's willingness to take less than his market value as an unrestricted free agent helped soften the blow of losing star right wing Marian Hossa to the Detroit Red Wings.
Orpik's deal includes a limited movement clause.
It also marks the second consecutive summer general manager Ray Shero has solidified his defense by securing a core player to a long-term deal. Ryan Whitney, 25, signed a six-year contract worth $24 million on July 1, 2007.
That agreement was the first of several Shero has reached with young players he hopes will keep the Penguins contending for Stanley Cup titles into the next decade.
Crosby, 20, sacrificed the probability of an individual maximum contract with a five-year extension at $8.7 million annually, signed July 10, 2007.
Both he and Malkin, 21, could have commanded annual salaries at 20 percent of the NHL team payroll upper limit -- $56.7 million for next season - but opted to provide the Penguins salary-cap space to build and maintain a contender.
Given the surge in annual salaries to players over the opening days of the free-agent signing period, Shero said he is thrilled his young players are giving the Penguins a so-called discount.
"The way the cap has gone - yeah," Shero said. "(Keeping) the players that want to be here and play for Pittsburgh is the important goal for me.
Brooks Orpik took less money to play here. Evgeni Malkin took less to be here. ... We've got a great thing to offer. We've got a great thing going."
Up next, Shero said, is a long-term contract for goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, 23, who is eligible for an arbitration hearing no sooner than July 20.
Shero is involved in active negotiations with Fleury's agent, Allan Walsh, and he is optimistic a deal will be reached by the weekend.
"Hopefully, that will be solidified in the next few days," Shero said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins notebook: Staal insists he never asked for trade to Penguins
- Penguins notebook: Adams says fight was to counter Blues’ brutish tactics
- Penguins defensemen Letang, Martin embrace heavy workload
- Penguins notebook: Ehrhoff exits early again after hitting his head
- Penguins, Blues players adjust to roles with new teams
- Fast starts hold key for Penguins down the stretch
- Steen’s overtime goal boosts Blues over Penguins, 3-2
- Despite adversity, Penguins at ease
- NHL scoring continues its decline in March
- Penguins notebook: Johnston supports Bennett, Adams
- Penguins’ Dupuis won’t return this season