Brian MacLellan, Capitals GM, calls Orpik trade ‘above board’ after NHL review

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There were murmurs of “collusion” after the Washington Capitals traded Brooks Orpik to the Colorado Avalanche as part of the Philipp Grubauer deal — then re-signed Orpik when the Avs bought out his contract.

Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reported Friday that the NHL had concerns about the trade and wrote the teams a memo about it “a couple of weeks ago.”

But Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan, speaking at the team’s 2018 media day Friday, said the team cooperated with the NHL and did not receive any sort of punishment for the move.

“They put us through a thorough questioning,” MacLellan said. “I mean, we did everything above board and we answered their questions honestly and there was no repercussions so I think we’re good.”

According to Friedman, “the league notified the individual clubs that it reviewed the situation, and explained its concerns. Teams viewed the memo as a warning, that if the NHL could make an example of someone, it would.”

MacLellan was asked if the NHL received complaints from opposing teams in the league that would prompt an investigation.

“I would assume there’s some teams involved,” he said.

Orpik, for his part, told NBC Sports Washington that he understood the business side of the decision but “had no knowledge it was coming,” adding he was blindsided and didn’t originally think a return to Washington was possible. If Washington and Colorado colluded to ensure Orpik would return to the Capitals, nobody told Orpik.

The Avalanche also could have done something else with Orpik. They shopped him around the league, NBC Sports Washington reported, but didn’t find a trading partner.

Orpik is earning the same amount of money he was scheduled to make in the final year of his original deal. He made $4.5 million from the buyout and signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Capitals.

“We did everything by the book. We did everything straight,” MacLellan said.

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