Capitals' final report cards: Dmitry Orlov

Capitals' final report cards: Dmitry Orlov
May 21, 2014, 4:30 pm
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(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

CSNWashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2013-14 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in alphabetical order. Today: Dmitry Orlov

Position: Defense

Shoots: Left

Age: 22 [turns 23 July 23]

Ht/Wt: 6-0, 210

Games: 54

Goals: 3

Assists: 8

Points: 11

Penalty minutes: 19

Plus-Minus: Minus-1

Average Ice Time: 19:35

Contract Status: 2 years remaining on 2-year, $4 million contract extension [$2 million cap hit, $1.75 million salary]

Strengths: A strong skater with a hard, accurate shot and a bit of a mean streak, Orlov jumps out at you when he’s playing with confidence. That wasn’t always the case this season, but he still led all Caps defensemen in hits [75] and was fourth in average ice time despite not getting out of Adam Oates’ doghouse and into a game until Nov. 30. After that he played in all but two of the Caps’ final 56 games, missing a pair of games because of a suspension.

Weaknesses: For the most part, Orlov is able to control his emotions, as evidenced by his 19 penalty minutes. But there are occasions when he lets them get the best of him [see Memorable Moment below]. Orlov is learning when to step up and make a big hit and when to play it safe, but he often crossed signals with defense partner Mike Green and at times the results were disastrous.

Memorable Moment: On March 2 in a home game against the Flyers, Orlov recorded the first two-goal game of his career on just two shots to give the Caps a 4-2 lead. His special night unraveled with one undisciplined shift in the third period when, after taking a clean hit behind the net from Brayden Schenn, Orlov retaliated with a check from behind that resulted in a five-minute minor and a two-game suspension. The Flyers scored on the advantage then received a game-tying goal by Claude Giroux with 65 seconds remaining in regulation, setting the stage for an overtime win.

Quotable: ““Seeing the situation, George [McPhee] needs to cut his losses and get the best deal he can. As you can imagine, there’s no chance in hell Dmitry is going to sign with the Capitals for next season.” – Orlov’s agent Mark Gandler on Nov. 27. Three days later he made his season debut and on March 13 he signed a two-year contract extension.

2014-15 Expectations: First, Orlov must completely heal from the broken arm he suffered last week while playing for Russia in the World Championships. Then the Capitals’ new coach needs to decide where Orlov fits into the Caps’ top six defense corps. Ideally, Orlov could begin the season on a third unit. But if the Caps move Green for a reliable right-handed veteran capable of logging big minutes, Orlov could be a valuable second-unit defenseman capable of doubling his offensive totals of this season.

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