Should the Pens trade Orpik?
Much focus has been paid to Matt Niskanen or Simon Depres finding new towns. This is the most likely scenario, as Niskanen's youth and recent good play has surely garnered focus. His trade may be more likely, as Depres came to camp over weight. Although young defense talent is a major asset in this league. Letang is locked up, Martin played well (after a rough previous year), and the defensive depth is stacked (see: Maata, Pouliot, Ruopp, and Dumoulin). Further, Engelland provides an adequate substitute/backup.
My focus has shifted to Orpik. He's in a contract year, his return is uncertain with the organizational depth. His leadership is unquestioned. But, he plays a very physical style of play and his body has been breaking down on him.
He may be expensible, especially for a team lacking a top-tier defenseman. He likely could draw high draft picks and an upgrade to our third or fourth line winger (see: Tanner Glass, Chris Conner, Harry Zolnerwhateverhisnameis). My priority would be to rebuild offensive depth, as we truly lack organizational depth on the wing. I think Orpik could get the draw needed to keep our youth movement sustained for years to come.
Where I see it difficult to let him go, I don't think it should be off the table. He's been a fixture in the organization for years and for all the right reasons. It may be a good time to sell while he can add this same value to another organization in the twilight years of his career.