In The Final Year Of His Current Capitals Deal, Dmitry Orlov Reflects On The Last Time His Contract Was Up, And His Thoughts At The Time Of Returning Home To Play In KHL

Screen cap: Slippery Ice Podcast

We have a full season ahead of us, and the opening of 2023 free agency is still 10 months away. However, for those players that are pending unrestricted free agents this season, discussions surrounding the possibility of returning to their current clubs have already begun.

Washington Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov is in the final year of his six-year, $5,100,000 AAV deal with the team. Orlov had a rocky start with the Capitals, but has settled in nicely and become one of team’s best blueliners over the past few seasons. But will he return for the 2023-24 season?

A lot can change over the next 10 months, on both sides. Orlov, who turns 32 next July, could turn in a sub-par season or a younger defensemen in the system could challenge him for a spot that might give the Capitals reason for pause.

However, there is also the possibility that Orlov decides to call it quits in the NHL and return home to play in the KHL to finish out his hockey playing career. In fact, he was very close to doing just that in 2016.

In September of 2016, reports began to surface, mostly in the Russian media (here), that Orlov was considering an offer to leave for the KHL. It was concerning, but probably taken with a grain of salt among Capitals fans. “This was a negotiating tactic, right? Orlov is just demonstrating he has options to better his stance for a new deal with the Capitals?” It seemed obvious at the time.

It turns out the option to return to Russia was very real and something Orlov seriously considered. He detailed his thinking at the time in a recent interview with former Washington Capitals centerman Andrei Nikolishin for the “Slippery Ice” podcast.

“In fact, there was such a situation in 2016, when I played for the national team (2016 World Cup) without a contract with the club (Capitals). I was preparing – and I had thoughts: to go to CSKA or Washington? And I waited until the last minute. When we lost to Canada in the semifinals, I sat with the guys for sushi and drank beer. My agent called and asked what we’re doing in the end.”

After his agent called him, Orlov immediately left the team dinner, called his family and began to decide his future.

“I moved away from the guys, I called my wife, parents. “As you decide, it will be.” And no one helped me. I sat for a couple of minutes and thought, my soul once lay down in Washington, they promised me that they would give me game time, I would play. In principle, they kept all their promises and then, a year later, I signed a contract for six years.”

Orlov ended up signing a one-year deal for $2.57 million on September 21, 2016 and would subsequently sign a six-year deal for $5,100,000 per season in the summer of 2017. He and the Capitals would go on to win the Stanley Cup in the first year of his new deal.

But will Orlov be back in October of 2023?

As noted, a lot can happen over the next 10 months that could sway the decision on both sides. One or both sides may want an extension or one or both sides may decide to move on. Orlov could also decide that it’s time for he and his family to return home. It’s clear it was a real possibly in 2016.

We reached out to Orlov’s agent, Mark Gandler, and asked him if any contract talks with the Capitals have taken place to date, but Gandler did not reply to our request by the time of this posting.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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14 Responses to In The Final Year Of His Current Capitals Deal, Dmitry Orlov Reflects On The Last Time His Contract Was Up, And His Thoughts At The Time Of Returning Home To Play In KHL

  1. novafyre says:

    Lots of stress on athletes playing and living in foreign lands especially as they age, build families, and begin to consider life after playing. Even more stress than usual on Russian players right now. A lot for him to consider.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Agree. We as fans probably lose sight of those inherent stresses.

      • novafyre says:

        I wish that NBCSW would do small 5 to 10 minute pregame or postgame segments on some of these hockey matters that we don’t ordinarily think about. Difficulties in having a two country league, visas, payments and taxes, foreign kids in school, housing, shuttling between Hershey and DC. Even such things as equipment selection, players in commercials, sponsorship, NHL/AHL/ECHL salaries (which you caught me out on), all sorts of things that we as fans don’t really pay attention to but which affect our team.

  2. Marky says:

    He’s a top pairing defensemen and the Caps don’t have any of this caliber in the system so they should sign him for sure. I don’t care about next year’s retool/rebuild. It’s good to have a few very good quality vets even during those times so I think he is definitely worth resigning as a good number of spots will still be available next year and year after. My prediction for a contract would be 4 years and 6.5 million per year.

    • steven says:

      I agree on the total years but sad to say with so many UFA and RFA on this team after this year and with Ovie, Backy (unless he retires and hopefully he will), Kuzy, Oshie, Mantha, Wilson and Carlson and Kuemper make up 66.3% of the salary cap, I dont see them paying that kind of money. So that is 8 players under contracr and you now have to fill out your roster snf you also already have 2 players undercontract so you now have even less money. As sad as it will be I dont see Orlov setteling for 6.5$ million as at this stage of his career he is better than Carlson who makes 8$ mil. That is problem 1, problem 2 is do you resign a 33 year old (after next season) knowing you are going into a rebuild and still have to pay Carlson his 8$ mil a year for the next 3 seasons after this one. Unless management trades Carlson they cannot afford to keep Orlov and at this point in their careers I would rather have Orlov!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Not an exciting group of upcoming FA Dmen next year so Orlov could be in high demand with another good year. Need to get him extended before season starts. TVR too.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I would try to get him locked into 4 years if he’ll bite and try to keep him in the 5-6mil per range because that’s where he fits&is worth in the capital salaries &cap situation. Reason for 4 years is obvious, that is the end of OVs contract at 40. Then complete turnover to Miroschnichenko,Lapierre,McMichael etc era

  5. Lance says:

    I love Orlov. He’s really tightened up his game the last 4-5 years. He skates really well and can carry the mail. He hits hard sometimes and is effective defensively. He needs someone like Niskanen to cover for him when he goes on his offensive adventures. Jensen can’t do it well enough in the playoffs.

    That said, at age 32, I wouldn’t go long-term with Orly. Too many players fall of the cliff at this age. You just can’t risk the cap space long-term. I’d go 5+ mill year by year. If Orlov bails, he bails. I’m not sure he’d fit in with many other teams.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I think to afford him, they’ll have to go to 6 years…similar to how they afforded Oshi.

  7. DWGie26 says:

    I could see this going a couple of ways:

    * Go to KHL – I think unlikely right now as I think he would like to be with OV when he gets to 895, so…
    * Sign short term deal (2 years – so three including this one. At 35 he can still go to the KHL and get paid
    * Sign long term (4-6 years) with another NHL team for big bucks 6-8M per)

    I dont think we’ll see another sentimental contract. That is just me but i see the tide changing. I don’t think they will go more than 4x6M. A 2 year deal would be good for both sides and will take some selling by GMBM.

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