Dmitry Orlov has undergone a very slow rise to prominence, but after signing a hefty contract in the offseason, he's primed to be the Caps' No. 1 left defenseman, a job that will surely cause his ice time to rise over 20 minutes (and probably well over) for the first time in his career. There's corresponding fantasy appeal after he recorded 33 points and a plus-30 rating last season, especially considering that we saw his shot total rise by 35 from the year before. His step up into a more premier role could see the 26-year-old record double-digit goals and clear 40 points for the first time in his career, and he's proven to be a capable contributor in the ancillary categories as well -- his 51 PIM and 122 hits from last year are fantasy-relevant totals in formats that count those stats.
Orlov agreed to terms on a six-year, $30.6 million contract with Washington on Friday. Orlov becomes the third member of Washington's blue line to carry a cap hit of more than $5 million annually -- joining Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik. While not an extravagant price considering Orlov's 2016-17 numbers -- 33 points, 122 hits, and a plus-30 rating -- the move all but guarantees Karl Alzner and Kevin Shattenkirk will be leaving the nation's capital. Compared to 2015-16, the 25-year-old Orlov logged an extra three and a half minutes of ice time per game this past year and likely will see his minutes continue to trend upward.
Orlov will not be exposed in the expansion draft, Isabelle Khurshudyan of The Washington Post reports. There have been discussions about Orlov leaving for the KHL, so this may serve as some relief to Capitals GM Brian MacLellan's confidence that he'll stay in Washington. The Caps decided to protect three defensemen, and Orlov easily made the cut with 33 points, regardless of the fact that Kevin Shattenkirk and Karl Alzner are on their way out anyway.
Capitals GM Brian MacLellan believes Orlov will re-sign with his team rather than ultimately agreeing to a deal with a KHL franchise, CSN Mid-Atlantic reports. MacLellan acknowledged rumors that Orlov has been in talks with KHL clubs -- CSKA Moscow is believed to be interested in courting the defenseman -- but the general manager added, "Sometimes I don't know if they (the reports) are accurate." Orlov just completed a one-year deal with the Capitals valued at $2.57 million. His two-way game was in full effect during the regular season, as he dropped 33 points (six goals, 27 assists) along with a plus-30 rating, but the Russian faded in the playoffs with three points representing his total over 13 games. Still, if the Capitals are to retain him, it's likely going to take a long-term deal.
Orlov is said to be discussing a possible contract with CSKA Moscow of the KHL, Isabelle Khurshudyan of The Washington Post reports, citing Igor Eronko of Russia's Sport-Express. It was a breakout campaign for Orlov in 2016-17, as he manufactured a career-high 33 points to complement a shiny rating at plus-30. While the rearguard saw his playing time jump by three and a half minutes compared to the prior campaign, the Capitals acquired defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk shortly ahead of the trade deadline and that created volatility with Orlov's minutes when coach Barry Trotz tinkered with his pairings. If you hold keeper shares in the 25-year-old, wait for more substantiated reports before worrying about the rumored departure to the KHL, though it's worth noting that his hockey career began in that league back in 2007-08, when he was with Novokuznetsk Metallurg.
Orlov was called upon by Team Russia's World Championship roster Thursday. The defenseman will join teammate Evgeny Kuznetsov on Team Russia after another early exit from the NHL playoffs in Wednesday's 2-0 loss to the Penguins in Game 7. Following a career-high 33 points in 82 games in the 2016-17 season, his presence should give the Russian blue line a boost.
Rank Among Leaders
Last 7 Games
|3 Year Avg||82||7||24||31||19||1||0||2||0||0||137.7|