After missing the entire 2014-2015 season recovering from a wrist injury that he sustained while playing for Team Russia at the 2014 Men’s World Ice Hockey Championships, Washington Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov has made a solid comeback. But is he meeting the team’s expectations?
In the 50 games he’s played so far, Orlov has recorded a total of 18 points (4 goals & 14 assists) and has solidified his status as one of the Capitals top defenseman.
Orlov has played an intriguing part in the Capitals defensive system. So far the Caps blue line has only allowed just 111 goals prior to February 5th, which is the fewest in the NHL this season, and a dramatic improvement over the 2009-2010 team, which allowed a total of 233 goals which was tied for 16th place that season. Currently Orlov is ranked 2nd among all NHL defenseman in points per minute and 5th in shot attempts against per minute.
One of the biggest attributes in Orlov’s game has been his ability be a versatile player by reading plays on a short-term basis such as positioning himself well on the blue line to break up an odd man rush or send smart passes to his teammates to generate offensive plays.
In an interview with Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post, Orlov spoke about his improved gameplay, “I still get confidence every game. Every game different and every game have a different situation, so I need to keep working on my game and focus on being better and better every game.”
At the age of 24, the young Russian native has faced more than his share of adversity and setbacks throughout his young career. Despite his misfortunes, Orlov has made an impressive comeback and will continue to improve on his game for the remainder of the season as the Caps look to build on their success.
By Andrei Poleshchuk