DALLAS (AP) The Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals cleared some space to try to re-sign a handful of key free agents by trading veteran defenseman Brooks Orpik and backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer to the Colorado Avalanche for the 47th pick in the NHL draft .
Shedding Orpik's $5.5 million salary in the final year of his contract and dealing Grubauer before he earned more as a restricted free agent gives them more than $20 million in cap space. It's needed because defensemen John Carlson and Michal Kempny can become unrestricted free agents July 1 and playoff hero Devante Smith-Pelly and top-line winger Tom Wilson will get raises as RFAs.
"You don't like trading away good people, but it's what we had to do to move forward with the team," Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said Friday night. "It's hard to do, but we had to create some room to sign some players."