The Washington Capitals combed through the NHL looking for a partner to trade 26-year old goalie Philipp Grubauer as a restricted free agent. They ultimately agreed to a deal with the Colorado Avalanche that sent Grubauer and defenseman Brooks Orpik to the Rocky Mountains in exchange for a second-round pick. Washington was seeking a first-round pick but settled on a second rounder — the 47th overall pick, however, that was not the best offer they received.
According to Pierre LeBrun of the Athletic, the Carolina Hurricanes offered the 42nd overall pick and too was willing to eat the $5.5 million cap hit of Orpik. The Capitals searched and eventually went with the lesser offer because they did not want to trade Grubauer within the Metropolitan Division. Instead, they’re content on sending the goalie out west to Colorado, in which they are scheduled to face each other twice next season.
The decision makes sense. Grubauer is a very capable starting goalie. He started 28 games for the Capitals in 2017-18 posting a 15-10-3 record with a .923 save percentage and 2.35 goals allowed average. He at times outplayed the struggling Braden Holtby and got the nod to start the first two games of the playoffs against Columbus.
Unfortunately, Grubauer struggled allowing eight goals through the two games as the Capitals fell into a 0-2 series hole before he was replaced by Holtby, who helped lead the Capitals through the remainder of the playoffs and ultimately to the Stanley Cup. Still, Grubauer has promise and can be a cornerstone goalie. That’s why the Capitals were reluctant to trade him within their division even though they had to accept the lesser offer.
Colorado is not complaining, they inked the restricted free agent to a three-year deal worth $10 million. The Capitals more importantly got good value in return for the promising goalie and dumped Orpik’s salary allowing them a good chance to re-sign top blue-liner John Carlson.