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Barry Trotz gets deep when talking impact of Brooks Orpik: ‘You can’t measure love’

Barry Trotz gets deep when talking impact of Brooks Orpik: ‘You can’t measure love’

Barry Trotz has a message for all those who doubt the importance of Brooks Orpik to the Caps: Sometimes, there's just no way to measure a player’s impact.

“In sport, one of the things that you can't measure is impact on people, impact in culture, impact in those intangibles,” Trotz said after Friday’s practice. “Numbers are numbers but what really counts, I mean some of the greatest things in the world, you can't measure. You really can't. Love for instance. You can't measure love. How do you measure it?”

Woah. That’s pretty deep.

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The addition of Kevin Shattenkirk to the team’s defensive core gives the Capitals eight NHL caliber defensemen. With only six spots in the lineup, however, someone will have to be bumped. Taylor Chorney was already the team’s regular healthy scratch on the blue line, but who will join him in the press box?

There are those who believe it should be Orpik.

At 36 years old, Orpik’s best hockey years are behind him. The veteran defenseman struggled in the postseason last year with zero points and 10 penalty minutes in six games. He also was given a three-game suspension for a dangerous hit to Olli Maatta.

This season, Orpik has played on the third defensive pairing alongside Nate Schmidt. He has only 12 points this season and no goals. He is also second among the team’s defensemen in penalty minutes with 36 behind only Dmitry Orlov.

For Trotz, however, you won’t find Orpik’s true importance on the stat sheet.

“Sometimes the numbers guys really don't play the game and don't understand the impact of an individual in your organization.”

Trotz added, “There's certain things you can't measure and some of those things that you can't measure are some of the most important things that are part of a player or culture, development of a player. Those things you can't measure and he's got those intangibles. That's why he's been such a valuable player for us and personally in our organization.”

Chief among those intangibles is Orpik’s leadership.

“Teams follow their leaders and he's one of our important leaders,” Trotz said. “He quietly will, not really grab a guy, but he'll quietly make a suggestion if there's someone who's maybe not acting the right way or performing the right way and I think that has a real big impact because he's so respected in the room.”

Orpik skated alongside Shattenkirk in Thursday’s game against the New Jersey Devils and it certainly appears like that is the long-term plan for him as the postseason draws closer.

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Braden Holtby — the skater — is a sight to behold

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CSNMA

Braden Holtby — the skater — is a sight to behold

Braden Holtby is an elusive guy.

The 2015-16 Vezina Trophy winner might be large in stature, but keeps to himself. When you do see him, he's typically covered in layers of goalie pads or briefly chatting with the media following a game.

So imagine the surprise to see Holtby take the ice at Kettler IcePlex well before training camp begins with zero goalie pads on.

That's what took place on Monday morning. As several players hit the ice for some unofficial workout sessions, there was the 6-2 Saskatchewan native strolling onto the ice, with a regular stick, regular skates, regular gloves and Andre Burakovsky's helmet.

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Frankly, it was a bit odd to see Holtby skate up and down the ice.

Maybe it's because we're used to seeing him in the crouch position. or maybe it's because we actually see his entire figure, not just a pile of leather pads.

But even goalies need to work on non-goalie skills. The more familiar you are with position players, the better you will be to stop them from scoring.

But man, seeing Holtby skate like a forward sure does take some time to get used to. 

RELATED: RANKING THE CAPITALS' MOST IMPORTANT PLAYERS

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The 25 most important players for the Caps: No. 20 Taylor Chorney

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The 25 most important players for the Caps: No. 20 Taylor Chorney

Every player on an NHL team plays a role.

Some play bigger roles than others.

In the coming weeks, Tarik El-Bashir and JJ Regan will rank the 25 most important players in the Caps’ organization, from least to most important, weighing factors such as past production, future potential and intangibles. 

Today’s player: No. 20 Taylor Chorney.

RELATED: 2017-18 CAPITALS SEASON PREVIEW SERIES

One of the more interesting storylines during training camp is going to be the battle along the blue line and where everyone, particularly a veteran like Chorney, fits into the plan as the Caps skew a bit younger.

The top pair is easy to figure out; it’ll be Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen.

After that, it gets a little more interesting.

John Carlson will be on the second pair, perhaps with Aaron Ness.

If that's how things shake out, it would make sense to have Brooks Orpik anchor the third pair, especially if the No. 6 spot goes to a rookie since they'd surely benefit from the steady hand of a soon-to-be 37-year-old.

But will that spot go to a youngster like Christian Djoos, Madison Bowey or someone else? 

Or will it go to Chorney, a 30-year-old who's appeared in 141 NHL games spread over eight seasons for four clubs?

The Caps anticipate that Djoos and Bowey are closer to being NHL-ready than their other defenseman prospects.

Djoos lit up the AHL last season to the tune of 58 points in 66 games and the team needs to replace some offense. Bowey, meanwhile, has the look of a promising two-way defenseman.

But here’s the drawback—and where Chorney, in my opinion, fits into the equation.

Neither Djoos nor Bowey have done it yet. And until they do, no one can be 100-percent sure they’re completely ready to handle the everyday duties that the NHL demands. 

Chorney, to that end, has a significant advantage in experience, at a position where it matters a lot. He appeared in 18 games last season and a career-high 55 games the year before, also with the Caps. 

The bottom line: I suspect Chorney, who is entering the final year of his contract, will open camp penciled in as the team’s No. 6/7.

I also expect that he'll play a decent amount this season, maybe more than last year but perhaps less than 2015-16. I could even see him in the opening night lineup. Eventually, though, the Caps will want to see Djoos, Bowey or another youngster squeeze their way past Chorney and into the lineup full-time.        

Check out the full list of the Caps most important players as it comes out here and check out previous player profiles below.

— No. 25 Aaron Ness
— No. 24 Chandler Stephenson
— No. 23 Riley Barber
— No. 22 Pheonix Copley
No. 21 Devante Smith-Pelly