Dmitry Orlov was a surprise — but unlike most of the surprises we had this year, he was a pleasant one. The Russian rookie got his chance early on in a difficult season and never looked back, shooting and checking his way to our hearts. We’re almost glad his first season is over, though, because we weren’t sure his nose was going to survive.
Cap Hit: $900,000. Orlov’s entry-level contract lasts through 2013-14, and he will be RFA on expiration of that contract.
Best Moment: Orlov’s first goal, and the look of pure joy that followed it. If we could bottle that, we’d be millionaires.
We also liked him shooting so hard he knocked the skate blade off Mathieu Darche’s skate, and the monster night he had for his second-ever game, crushing unsuspecting Jets and registering his first NHL point.
Best Hershey Moment: The Caps had good reason to call the young defenseman up after a brilliant three-point night for the Bears.
Most Ill-Advised Direction of Youthful Exuberance: Shoving a ref in a March game against the Carolina Hurricanes and earning his first 10 NHL PIM with a game misconduct. Though we do understand. Jeff Skinner makes us crazy, too.
Times That Dmitry Orlov Got Hit In The Face With A Puck: Two.
Best Orlov-Related Valentine’s Day Art:
Rachel Cohen knows what our significant others really need.
Things We Said About Dmitry Orlov: “Dmitry Orlov is the reason we got up this morning.”
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
First Irrelevant Google Images Result:
Ah yes. A peacock in a turquoise room. I see.
Media Consensus: “This Dmitry Orlov thing is working out well!”
Spirit Animal: A badger.
Alternate Universe Superhero Identity: Cageface
Team Role: Orlov began the year with the Hershey Bears, emergency relief for the Caps defense if anything.
Execution of that Role: That emergency came early on in the year — Orlov was called up on November 20th, and spent the rest of the year with the big club. He was able to play with a consistency and maturity that even veteran teammates couldn’t maintain in a difficult year, bringing his energy, physicality, and offensive instincts to the blueline. Plus: hipchecks!
Postseason Performance: Orlov was another player who didn’t play a single game through two rounds of the playoffs, which was frustrating considering the struggles that some of the team’s other defensemen were having. We almost blew a gasket trying to armchair-coach him into the lineup.
Brave effort. We count at least 16 separate facial hairs. Two out of ten.
Likeliness to Return: Orlov is a future regular that the Caps didn’t even know they had. Hang onto him tight, GMGM. Nine out of ten.
Usefulness in a Post-Apocalyptic Setting: We would feel perfectly safe in the company of his Slavic hips of fury. Ten out of ten.
Other: Stan Galiev and Orlov practicing nifty trick shots at Development Camp before the season began: definitely not a sign of things to come.
Other: We interviewed Orlov a lot this year, about everything from the physical game in the NHL to his scoring to the disappointment of being scratched in the postseason. We feel this merits a special Friend of the Blog gold star.
Overall Year-End Rating: Nine Good Sashas.