In all likelihood, Dmitri Orlov, now donning the #9, will get the start on the third defensive line when the Capitals take the ice at Verizon Center on October 10th. A spot in the starting lineup that was a long time in the making.
After a relatively healthy but elevator-esque season in 2013-2014, in which Orlov endured numerous call-ups and send-downs, seemingly wearing out the pavement between DC and Hershey, Orlov would see some action, and with some success. It should be noted that a good number of the daily call-up/send-downs were also helpful to the Washington Capitals with regards to Orlov’s contract and the Capitals salary cap. Nevertheless, a yo-yo year for Orlov.
Then came the unfortunate turn of events that occurred at the World Championships in the Summer of 2014. Orlov would suffer a broken arm, ironically in a 6-1 Russian win over the United States. However, early reports had Orlov potentially returning in September.
Orlov would ultimately miss the entire 2014-2015 season, as healing of the arm/wrist took much longer than expected. Complications with healing occurred, and there was even talk of a second surgery. Orlov’s future seemed cloudier than the glass at Kettler.
However, Orlov would eventually practice and even travel with the team at times, but would never be activated for the 2014-2015 season.
Orlov said he took three weeks off following the game 7 loss to the Rangers, then he was right back at it by the first week of June, working on his game and strengthening his arm and wrist.
Orlov has looked ready to go since the start of informal skates. He’s been crisp with the skating, hitting top-shelf burners and defending at a top-level. True, this is only “informal” skating, but in my opinion, Orlov has been ready for the season opener for weeks now. One Kettler long-time regular has gone on the record with me, guaranteeing 20+ goals from Orlov this season, and I couldn’t find any grounds to disagree.
Orlov’s patience and determination have greatly impressed me. Never one to complain, always keeping the goal in sight, regardless of the time and commitment required. The Capitals have made it pretty clear that Orlov is in the plans for the 2015-2016 season, and Orlov has embraced his role, prepared for the challenge, and put in the work required to shine. Finally, the fun part is about to arrive for Orlov.
By Jon Sorensen