Dmitry Orlov during his stint with Metallurg Novokuznetsk in 2009-10 season. (Photo credit: Metallurg Novokuznetsk)
CSKA Moscow, managed by former Washington Capitals forward Sergei Fedorov, has acquired the KHL rights to prospects Dmitry Orlov (of the Washington Capitals) and Ivan Telegin (of the Winnipeg Jets) from Metallurg Novokuznetsk in exchange for financial compensation. Both Telegin and Orlov are hometown kids and alumni of Metallurg. After playing in the same system for many years, they know each other very well; they’re even friends.
Orlov, 22, was assigned to the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears to start the year after being unable to make the Caps roster out of camp. He’s in a tight competition for spots with many other young defensemen in the organization like Nate Schmidt and Tomas Kundratek. He played 60 games for Washington in the 2011-12 season before two concussions sidelined him and lost him his spot in the NHL. With Jack Hillen out four-to-six months, now may be the time for Orlov to step up and take back his position in the NHL before it’s too late.
Just a month ago, in an interview with Slava Malamud of Sport-Express, Orlov dismissed talk of returning to Russia. “I don’t think about it,” he said. “I’m still a young player and want to start playing here. I haven’t proven anything to myself or anybody else. Playing in 60 NHL games and going back is not the way to do it!”
Telegin, 21, is a big center with some skill. Just like Orlov, he has had some head injuries in the past and failed to make the Jets out of camp this year. The Jets seem to be content with their centermen, Bryan Little, Mark Scheifele, Olli Jokinen, and Jim Slater. Unlike Orlov, Telegin refused to report to his team’s AHL affiliate, the St. John’s IceCaps, kicking off rumours about his potential return to Russia. However, with two years left on his NHL entry-level contract and NHL/KHL agreement, that move doesn’t appear likely, unless the Jets assign him to Russia on loan.
CSKA is a historical powerhouse in Russian hockey. Unlike Metallurg Novokuznetsk, they’re backed by the rich Rosneft oil company and are one of the highest-spending teams in the KHL.
The acquisition of rights doesn’t necessarily mean a player will come back to the KHL. For example, Lev Prague acquired the rights for Roman Cervenka from Avangard Omsk. When talks fell through, Prague had to trade them again to SKA St. Petersburg, who then signed Cervenka to a contract. On the other hand, when a rich team like CSKA or SKA acquire rights, that usually means they’re serious about signing and don’t want that player on another club.