NHL clears Capitals on trading, signing Orpik after buyout

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — The NHL questioned the Washington Capitals about re-signing Brooks Orpik after trading him to Colorado and cleared the Stanley Cup champions of any wrongdoing.

General manager Brian MacLellan says the league put the Capitals through a thorough questioning process for trading the veteran defenseman and then bringing him back at a cheaper salary after the Avalanche bought him out. MacLellan says the Capitals were above board in everything they did and would face no consequences.

In an email to The Associated Press, deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed MacLellan’s assessment that the league investigated Washington and found nothing to be amiss with Orpik’s situation.

At the draft in June, the Capitals traded Oprik and backup goaltender Philipp Grubuaer to Colorado for a second-round pick, a move made largely to clear salary-cap space. Avalanche GM Joe Sakic said almost immediately after the trade that he’d be buying out the final season of Orpik’s deal that carried a salary of $4.5 million and a cap hit of $5.5 million.

Orpik signed with the Capitals about a month later, a one-year deal worth $1 million with $500,000 in incentives. If the 37-year-old defenseman reaches those incentives, he’ll combine to make the same amount he would have if he weren’t bought out.

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Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/tag/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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