It was back on November 21, 2011 when rookie defenseman Dmitry Orlov was called up from the Hershey Bears to make his NHL debut for the Washington Capitals. Orlov played in his 600th career NHL game Friday night against the Red Wings in Detroit.
The Capitals drafted Orlov in the second round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft with the 55th pick overall. He joined the Hershey Bears at the end of the 2010-11 season when his KHL season with Metallurg Novokuznetsk was complete. He started the 2011-12 season with the Bears until his callup to the Capitals.
Dmitry Orlov reflects on his NHL debut on the latest Rinkside Update ahead of expecting to appear in his 600th career game tonight in Detroit.#CapsWings | @MedStarHealth pic.twitter.com/1AU1UIE3pc
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) December 31, 2021
After such a promising rookie season, the next three seasons were a long and winding road, filled with obstacles for Orlov. He was sent back to the Hershey Bears to start the 2012-13 season thanks to the NHL lockout. But while in Hershey, he experienced multiple concussions, which delayed his recall to the Capitals.
The 2013-14 season was another obstacle-filled season. He would get recalled from Hershey, but Head Coach Adam Oates chose other defenseman over him for the starting lineup. Orlov expressed a wish for the Capitals to trade him, in hopes of getting a better opportunity. But by the end of the season, he was in the Capitals’ lineup.
After the season ended, Orlov played in the World Championships, representing Russia. However, he broke his wrist in the competition. The injury, which required surgery and also resulted in infection, derailed the 2014-15 season for him. He never did play with the Capitals and played in just three games with the Hershey Bears on a conditioning stint.
Orlov was fully recovered by the 2015-16 season and played in all 82 games. In 2016-17, after the departure of Karl Alzner in free agency and after signing a new contract extension, he was placed on the second defensive pairing as Matt Niskanen.
Since then, he has been a fixture in the Capitals lineup, usually playing on the second defensive pairing. Throughout his career with the Capitals, he has scored 49 goals and has recorded 169 assists for 218 points overall and was an important part of the Capitals 2017-18 Stanley Cup Championship team.
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By Diane Doyle