The Washington Capitals traded goalie Philipp Grubauer to the Colorado Avalanche ahead of the first round of the NHL Draft on Friday.
The Avalanche wasted no time in signing Grubauer, a pending restricted free agent, to a three-year contract that runs through the 2020-21 season.
The netminder went 15-10-3 with a 2.29 GAA and .923 save percentage during the 2017-18 season, with the 35 games played being the most action he's seen in a single season. Grubauer joins a goaltending duo of Seymon Varlamov, who has a year remaining on his current deal, and Pavel Francouz, signed in late May after receiving KHL Goalie of the Year honors.
Philipp Grubauer, G
2018 2nd round draft pick (47)
"He just won a Stanley Cup. He's a winner, and that's always important. He knows what it takes," said Avalanche General Manager Joe Sakic. "He was just in a dressing room that went through a grind. You don't win a Stanley Cup if you're not part of a close team that believes and knows how to win in the playoffs. And he had a huge part in getting them into the playoffs. He's had two really good years in a backup role, and we all feel he's ready to take the next step and become a No. 1. We're excited to have two No. 1 goalies."
As part of the deal, Colorado also acquired defenseman Brooks Orpik from Washington, but quickly informed the 37-year-old veteran they planned to buy him out and placed him on waivers on Saturday. He's has been relegated to a bottom-pairing role in recent seasons and carries a hefty $5.5 million AAV through the 2018-19 season, it's already been reported that Orpik could be headed back to D.C. if the Avalanche do buy out his contract.
The trade clears salary cap room for Washington to be able re-sign top defenseman John Carlson, who is expected to get a sizable raise from his approximately $4 million cap hit over the last six seasons.
“We would like to thank Brooks and Philipp for all of their contributions to our organization,” Washington GM Brian MacLellan said in a statement. “Philipp has been a consummate professional and a great teammate and we wish him all the best. Brooks was a great leader and a tremendous role model for our young players in his four years with our organization. This was a difficult move, but the one we felt we needed to make in order to give some flexibility moving forward.”
The trade is the latest change for the Capitals since raising the Cup just a few weeks ago, after coach Barry Trotz resigned and joined the Islanders earlier this week.