Pittsburgh Penguins 2011 Grades: Brooks Orpik

Troy PfaffContributor IMay 4, 2011

PITTSBURGH, PA - FEBRUARY 8:  Brooks Orpik #44 of the Pittsburgh Penguins checks Anton Stralman #6 of the Columbus Blue Jackets on February 8, 2011 at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

For part three of Penguins Puck's Pittsburgh Penguins 2011 Season Grades, we'll examine the season of team bad ass and defenseman, Brooks Orpik.

Grading scale: The grading scale will range from A+ down through F, with half grades (+/-) included.

The players will be graded on their overall season performance, as well as how they performed compared to their potential, talent level and expectations.

Brooks Orpik is signed through the 2013-14 season at a $3.75 million cap hit, and thank the lord he is.

He is the symbol of consistency. Year in and year out, the 30-year-old brings the Penguins one of the best defensive games in the National Hockey League. He is perennially near the top of the leaderboard in hits, and, almost as importantly, he is never near the top of the board in penalty minutes.

In the past four years, Orpik has never ranked lower than sixth in the league in hits when he has played more than 63 games, and also has not amassed more than 73 penalty minutes in a season.

Orpik is arguably the best skating defensive defenseman in the entire league. He is one of this team's leaders, and generally steps his game up in clutch situations (see this hit on Steven Stamkos not two minutes into this year's playoffs).

Read more at Penguins Puck.