Washington Capitals Player Preview: Dmitry Orlov

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

2017-18 Preview
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

Previous player previews:
Matt Niskanen
Lars Eller
Tom Wilson
T.J. Oshie
Andre Burakovsky

Related articles:
Capitals Re-sign Dmitry Orlov
Dmitry Orlov is Ready to Take the Step Into Superstardom
Dmitry Orlov: From the Pressbox to On-Ice Magician

By: Harrison Brown


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Vacation 🇮🇹

A post shared by Dmitry Orlov (@orlov_09) on

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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18 Responses to Washington Capitals Player Preview: Dmitry Orlov

  1. Anonymous says:

    Didn’t he score a goal on his own net during the penguins series. Glad you kept him around. Instead of Nate Schmidt!😂🤣

  2. Anonymous says:

    The Caps always seem to go 6 or 7 games… in such series, each player needs to be his best on every shift.. own goals and Mike Weber passing directly to a pen… Shatty on the PP firing it into Cullen who gets a shorty when shots are 15-5 yet the score is 0-0…. Bad goals count but the Caps have to trim them… Orlov has to play to his contract this year for the caps to get to the 2nd round…

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  8. The most underrated part of Orlov’s game IMO is his slapshot

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  10. Alya says:

    The article is a little too critical to Orlov, despite him being one of the best players on the team last year and one of the most improved players as well. Why choose to mention him being scratched in the playoffs a year ago? How is it relevant to the analysis of his latest season and performance? Last season, he was leading the Caps in time on ice at 5v5, had great possession numbers, improved dramatically on defence and continued to be a major contributor in offence. Orlov and Niskanen were practically playing 1st pair minutes all year, they proved that they are quite capable in this role. They were one of the best D pairs in the league this past season.

    Orlov had 50 giveaways last year. OK, but what does this number mean? What was his % of giveaways out of his total attempts/touches? How many giveaways did other Caps players have and at what %? Does it account for the fact that Orlov has the puck more than other defensemen on the team? Top players, who play the puck a lot (like Letang, Karlsson, PK Subban) have a massive number of giveaways, just because of their style of play. It is misguiding to look at the absolute number without trying to dig deeper.

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