The Washington Capitals have re-signed defenseman Dmitry Orlov to a six-year contract worth $30.6 million, Isabelle Khurshudyan reported early Friday morning. The deal carries a cap hit of $5.1 million and is a sizable increase from the $2.57 million cap hit that he carried last season and the $2 million per season cap hit that he carried in the previous two.
Caps have re-signed defenseman Dmitry Orlov to a six-year deal. $5.1 million AAV.
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) June 30, 2017
Coming off of his best season to date where he set career-highs in assists (27), points (51) and plus-minus rating (30), the 25-year-old Orlov looks primed to step into a bigger role next season. After missing the entire 2014-15 season with a wrist injury, the Russian-blueliner has played in all 82 games in each of the last two seasons and has shined when given the opportunity to play a top-four role alongside Matt Niskanen on the Capitals’ second pairing.
In 282 career games in the NHL, Orlov has proven to be a solid two-way defenseman who contributes on both ends of the ice. Though often overshadowed by bigger names on the Capitals’ blueline such as John Carlson, Niskanen, Karl Alzner and most recently Kevin Shattenkirk, Orlov has done his part to improve defensively over the last few seasons while often playing on the team’s bottom pairing before being given the opportunity next to Niskanen. With the Capitals likely to lose Alzner and Shattenkirk during the free agency period starting on July 1 and the team already losing Nate Schmidt to the Vegas Golden Knights, Orlov should have every opportunity in the 2017-18 season to earn more ice time and prove that he’s worth every penny of his new deal.
Capitals Looking to Retain Pieces
After the Capitals lost early in the playoffs once again following their second consecutive President’s Trophy win, it was clear that there were going to be changes in Washington. Many of the team’s players were scheduled to hit free agency and were likely to draw interest from many teams, including Alzner and Shattenkirk as well as their top two right wing options in T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams. The added task of maneuvering past the Expansion Draft also posed an obstacle. Heading into July 1, the Capitals have already made moves to retain some of their potential ree agents, however, ensuring that they remain in place for the coming season and beyond.
To start, the Capitals extended Oshie to an eight-year contract that comes with a cap hit of $5.75 million per season. The deal wasn’t necessarily expected as Oshie rumors were flying rampant throughout the day leading up to the extension, but the Capitals saw it fitting to keep their top right winger locked up as they look to remain competitive in a very tough Metropolitan Division. The Capitals also extended Brett Connolly to a two-year, $3 million contract that has yet to be made official by the team but is expected at some point prior to free agency hitting Saturday.
The Capitals still have to sign Evgeny Kuznetsov, Andre Burakovsky and Philipp Grubauer to new deals. All three players mentioned are restricted free agents, however, which gives the Capitals some breathing room on extensions as they aren’t required by the time free agency opens on July 1.