Dmitry Orlov, Capitals Defense for the Future

Dmitry Orlov now has six seasons with the Washington Capitals. The last three have been his most solid seasons in the NHL, going with the Caps to the playoffs all three seasons. Orlov, who was drafted by the Capitals in 2009 played his first game in the NHL 21 November 2011 and scored his first NHL goal  January 15, 2012, wearing his original number 81 jersey.    Orlov changed to the number 9 prior to the 2014 season, the number he wore in Russia on the KHL’s  Metallurg Novokuznetsk team.

Orlov is unpredictable to say the least. It has been one of the primary complaints — an compliments — about his performance. This past season he developed a knack for creating space on the ice for his mates, while scoring on his own too (10 G, 21 A). He even had two game-winning goals in the regular season and was a key contributor to the Caps during the playoffs with six points (2 G, 6 A). One of those pivotal moments came against the Dallas Stars on December 20, 2017 with a backhanded goal between the legs of Ben Bishop. He tied up the game which Andre Burakovsky went on to win in overtime.

He initially signed an entry level contract with the Capitals in 2011 and began playing for the Hershey Bears in February 2011, where we first saw him play. He played 48 games in Hershey sharping his skills in preparation for a full-time career in 2013/14 schedule.

There is something special about Dmitry Orlov. On the ice his smile and laughter can be infectious. He always makes time for the fans. We had a chance to meet up with him in Hershey and years later he still smiles for us on and off the ice!

He has that little smirk that sneaks across his face as if he has a secret plan. Like his hip checks – this one from October 2016.

Outside of the AHL and NHL, Dima has made a name for himself as a Russian hockey player. He was part of the championship winning Russian World Juniors team in 2011. He contributed one goal and eight assists toward the win. He also played three seasons in the KHL’s Metallurg Novokuznetsk from 2008 to 2011, when he left to join the AHL. It was during IIHF World in May 2014 that he broke his wrist, sidelining his play for the 2014/15 season.

The left-handed blue liner began working out on the ice the spring of 2015. The Capitals assigned Dmitry to the Hershey Bears for conditioning and to ensure he was ready to resume his role in the NHL.  The Caps recalled him from Hershey in April and he has remained in the NHL since that time. There has been a lot said about Orlov’s erratic play over the past few seasons, especially his problem with unnecessary turnovers. He has become a solid defense player, overcoming some the the mistakes he became known for in previous seasons.

Orlov’s performance improved enough in 2016/17 season that the Capitals offered him a six-year deal for $30.6 million or a average of $5.1 million. He will be with the Caps until 2023. Part of his success these past couple of seasons has come from the pairing with Matt Niskanen, who joined the Capitals in 2014. Niskanen is a steady defenseman and some of that stable playing style has certainly rubbed off on Dima, making him a more consistent player. As the 2017/18 began, Nisky told reporters: “The good thing with Dmitry is that he’s got room to grow still. He’s young enough and he’s just scratched the surface of his potential.” His words proved true as Orlov stepped up his game to prove himself worthy of his new contract.

Together they are a formidable pair in the defense zone.

The future looks bright for the 27-year old d-man. He told the press in May 2018:  “Todd is a defensive coach, and talks about your mistakes with you and he helps me find the right way. That’s a big part of the success the past few years.” With Reiden now running the full show for the Caps as head coach, it is likely that Orlov’s performance will only continue to improve and become more consistent. He is a solid shooter, his time on ice has increased, and he has increased his shots blocked numbers, becoming one of the best defensemen on the team. Dima will need to work on decreasing his turnover numbers in the year ahead.

parade Orlov

Dmitry Orlov married  Varvara Amosova, a beautiful Russian model in 2016. They spend their time between their homes in Virginia and Russia, and are quite the world travelers in the off season, frequently with their friends the Sergei Bobrovsky’s. Varvara is often at Kettler Ice Plex watching her husband at practice and almost always at Capitals games with long-time friend Nastya Oveckina.

Happy Birthday Dima!!

Author: Maggie Marcum

Managing Editor for Friends in Cold Places.

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