As we do every year in the weeks leading up to the Capitals’ training camp, NoVa Caps is preparing key “player previews” for the upcoming season. Today, our annual player previews continue with defenseman Dmitry Orlov.
2016-17 Season Recap
Dmity Orlov‘s contract extension talks dragged on until just before training camp last season, when he signed a 1-year deal worth $2.57 million. He responded with a breakout season that secured him a top-4 role. For the second year in a row, Orlov played all 82 regular season games. He was mostly paired with Matt Niskanen and they played very well together.
Orlov scored six goals and set career highs in assists (27), points (33), +/- (+30), PIM (51), shots (125), and hits (122). His previous career high in shots was 90 in 2015-16, and he was third on the Caps’ defense in shots this past year behind only John Carlson (180) and Matt Niskanen (154). Orlov had less icetime during the penalty kill (14 seconds a game on average) than any regular defenseman other than Kevin Shattenkirk.
In the playoffs, where Orlov was scratched for a game last year, he was a -1 with 3 assists in 13 games.
Orlov secured a 6-year, $30.6 million contract this summer.
Orlov’s top play of 2016-17
Orlov is expected to play with Matt Niskanen on the No. 1 pair with the departure of Karl Alzner, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Nate Schmidt. The Caps need Orlov to play like he did last year and to add more offensively. He is likely to see more time on the power play with the departure of Kevin Shattenkirk, and he could add valuable points there (he had 6 power play points last season). His power play ice time last year averaged 1:08 a game. Orlov had a career high 50 giveaways last year, and that must change if he is going to be on the No. 1 defensive pair. With all of the departures from this offseason, Orlov will have to step up not only defensively but offensively too.
More of this:
Replacing some of the offense lost from last season has to come from not only the offense but the defense too. Orlov needs to shoot more both to score and for rebounds and secondary opportunities. As shown in the video below, Orlov has a powerful shot that the Caps will need to see more of.
Less of this:
Orlov led Capitals defensemen and was second on the team with 51 PIM. Only Tom Wilson (133) had more penalty minutes than Orlov. A top pairing defenseman can’t take unnecessary penalties. Orlov also can’t have 50 giveaways. More responsibility means that he’s expected to get these things out of his game if the Capitals are going to make a deep run in the playoffs. The Caps showed how much they trust Orlov after signing him to a big contract, and he will need to step up his play to show that he’s worth it.
- Keys to 2017-18
- Play more on the power play
- be more responsible defensively
- get 10+ goals and 40+ points
- stay out of the penalty box
- shoot the puck
By: Harrison Brown
SUMMERTIME ON SOCIAL MEDIA