The Washington Capitals have re-signed restricted free agent defenseman Dmitry Orlov to a one-year, $2.57 million contract, the team announced Wednesday.
Orlov gets a slight raise from the $2.25 million he made last year (with a $2 million AAV).
He’s battled injuries in his career, making his career take an odd shape, but he played a significant role for the Caps last year. He scored eight goals and 21 assists through 82 games. Orlov averaged just 16:02 of ice time, but it looks like the team already envisions him taking on a bigger role this season.
“I envision him playing with a [Matt] Niskanen or a [John] Carlson, probably more prime minutes as we try even out our defense a little bit in terms of [workload],” said head coach Barry Trotz in August.
“It’s a great opportunity for him. He’s at the right age where he can really contribute. We’ll look for his contributions on the power play, the penalty kill, playing in that top-4 on a pretty regular basis. I just think it’s right for him.”
If Orlov can stay in the lineup — he missed the entire 2014-15 season with an injury — it could be an important season for him to prove he deserves a bigger contract. The Caps have limited cap space now, but they could make a decision to give him a long-term extension next summer with T.J. Oshie, Justin William, Daniel Winnik and Karl Alzner all on expiring contracts.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.