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2014-15 Rink Wrap: Brooks Orpik

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From Alzner to Wilson, we're taking a look at and grading the 2014-15 season for every player who laced 'em up for the Caps for a significant number of games during the campaign, with an eye towards 2015-16. Next up, Brooks Orpik.

Clyde Caplan

Japers' Rink Player Card (click for a hi-res version, and a glossary of terms used in this post can be found here; data via NHL.comwar-on-ice.comGeneral Fanager and Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com):

Orpik Card

Orpik partners

Orpik usage

Orpik's Rolling Shot-Attempt (Corsi) -For Percentage (2007-15):

Orpik Rolling CF

Orpik's HERO Chart (via Own The Puck):

Orpik HERO

Orpik's Past Eight Seasons (via Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com; click to enlarge):

Orpik HA

Previous Rink Wraps: None

Key Stat: Orpik ranked 41st during the regular season in total ice time, averaging nearly 22 minutes a night over 78 games (his most since 2008-09).

Interesting Stat: Orpik's 19 points during the regular season was his second-most in a single season (tied with 2008-09 and behind 2009-10).

The Good: Orpik appeared to live up to his preseason billing. He took younger players under his wing. He provided a physical presence, finishing third in the league in hits (and first among defensemen, a full 73 in front of second). He was tough and willing to sacrifice the body, finishing fourth in the league in blocked shots. He was able to stay in the lineup, playing 78 games, his most since 2008-09, and 1700 minutes, a career high (including 2:47 a night shorthanded). He was able to provide a reliable, solid counter to the other team's best players alongside John Carlson—who, along with the other Caps blueliners, certainly looked more physical and aggressive in the defensive zone, perhaps following Orpik's lead—and was perfectly competent in support of the Caps' best players, too, even throwing in his best shots per game ratio since 2010-11.

On the shot attempts front, Orpik nearly broke even in shot attempts (and was in the black in unblocked shot attempts, scoring chances, and goals), his best figure since 2011-12's 52.4% SAT, while playing tough minutes. He got better as the year went along compared to his team, and had an especially solid February.

During the playoffs, Orpik provided more of the same. He was slightly in the red by score-adjusted SAT but ended up on the right side in the column that matters most, with a team-leading +5 as part of the team's best pairing in the playoffs. He also led the final eight's most effective penalty killing unit in ice time.

The Bad: Orpik seemed to be a little too willing to take himself out of position for a hit at times. He took a fair number of penalties as well. His lack of awareness and poise with the puck led to more than one infamous moment, on a micro level.

On a macro level, his limited skillset led to the aforementioned okay-not-great possession numbers, which look worse when compared what his teammates did without him. (Carlson, for example, was close to 60% possession without Orpik, compared to only 50% with.) With Orpik on the ice, the Caps were worse than with any other defenseman by goals, shots, and attempts—costing the team perhaps as much as a point or two in the standings. Orpik wasn't overwhelmed on the ice, and may have been better than he was by the end in Pittsburgh, but he did have plenty of issues.

It's also hard to overlook the fact that Orpik didn't score a single (non-shootout) goal this season, even if he doesn't score much to begin with.

The Video:

The Vote: Rate Orpik below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.

The Discussion: Where and with whom is Orpik ideally played? How should the Caps manage Orpik's minutes moving forward? How well or poorly do you think he'll age? How important is what he does on the ice versus what he does off it? How was his performance last season relative to his contract? What would it take for you to give him a "10" next year?

Orpik