Photo: Evan Vucci

The Washington Capitals have announced that they have signed defenseman Dmitry Orlov to a two-year contract worth an average annual salary of two million dollars.

Orlov will earn $1.75M in 2014-15 and $2.25 in 2015-16.

Orlov has scored three goals and six assists with the Caps this season despite not playing until November 30th. Orlov spent the first two months of the season between Hershey and Washington, where he was kept a healthy scratch to avoid an escape clause in his contract. Since returning to the ice, Orlov has been the team’s strongest possession defenseman.

Following a hit on Brayden Schenn on March 2nd, Orlov was suspended two games— the first suspension of his career.

The Capitals have no restricted free agents left to re-sign this season. Unrestricted free agents Dustin Penner, Mikhail Grabovski, and Jaroslav Halak all have contracts that expire after this season.

From the Capitals:


Capitals Re-sign Defenseman Dmitry Orlov

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have re-signed defenseman Dmitry Orlov to a two-year contract extension, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today. Orlov will earn $1.75 million during the 2014-15 season and $2.25 million in 2015-16.

Orlov, 22, has registered nine points (three goals, six assists) and 19 penalty minutes in 38 games with Washington this season. The 5’11”, 211-pound defenseman scored two goals against Philadelphia on March 2 and ranks sixth among Capitals skaters in ice time per game (19:31). In 103 career NHL games with Washington, Orlov has earned 29 points (six goals, 23 assists) and 37 penalty minutes.

Orlov appeared in 11 games with Hershey this season, recording nine points (three goals, six assists) and four penalty minutes. He earned an AHL career-high four points (one goal, three assists) on October 19 at St. John’s. Orlov has registered 44 points (12 goals, 32 assists) and 48 penalty minutes in 76 career AHL games with Hershey.

The Novokuznetsk, Russia, native helped lead Team Russia to a gold medal at the 2011 World Junior Championship in Buffalo, recording nine points (one goal, eight assists) in seven games and was named to the tournament All-Star team. In addition, Orlov represented Team Russia at the 2010 World Junior Championship and was one of Russia’s top three performers at the 2009 Under-18 World Championships. Orlov was drafted by Washington in the second round, 55th overall, in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

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  • Shaun Phillips

    Yup, very manageable deal. Gives him a taste of bigger money so hopefully he competes hard over the 2 years and earns himself a bigger pay check. And I think that leaves ~13 mil for UFAs. Grabo gets 4-5 mil of that, Penner 2-3 mil, which leaves 5-7 mil for UFAs on the market.

  • scrubversive

    Methinks this is a good decision. I am glad to hear this after watching his stint as the ping-pong ball between Hershey and DC. Dude makes plenty of newbie mistakes, but he has a lot of upside. We SHOULD be able to iron out some of his shortcomings with consistent time in the big league.

  • Shaun Phillips

    And some actual coaching…

  • scrubversive

    Hence the emphasis on SHOULD 🙁

  • Jack Conness

    Good deal. Pretty cheap. And we all know Orlov has a ton of upside, especially on offense. He just HAS to learn how to play D. Maybe a new coaching staff now?

  • Tom Martin

    So…..the Caps pay Grabo 4-5 million
    Let Penner walk
    Let Halak walk
    Use the compliance buyout on Erskine, or if he can’t get healthy, laich(I hate writing this)
    Promote Grubi
    Sign a top 6 winger, such as Hemski or Cammalleri
    Sign another defensemen: Stralman is a UFA who’s possesion numbers are pretty good.

    I think that team could maybe make the playoffs? and it leaves the Caps with cap room to spare

  • Projected $14 million of space for Caps next year. Grub is 0.578 (if i’m reading capgeek correctly).

  • scrubversive

    Toss in a bullet on appropriately restructuring management and it sounds reasonable that a roster like that could make a deep playoff run. I think making the playoffs was a reasonable expectation with the players we had this year. But the way they were utilized made realizing that expectation unlikely, much less making it past the first round.

  • Diller M

    I guess the “no chance that Orlov resigns with DC” quote from his agent is now elementary…

  • Tom Martin

    Agree with the utilization, but i don’t see Oates getting fired yet. GMGM? idk

    Depending on whether Andre Burkawski is ready, an additional LW may be needed too in the scenario i laid out.

    Doing this exercise on Gapgeek has me a bit less pessimistic than I was an hour ago

  • JenniferH

    Reread that article with the quotes from the agent. And I laughed. Hahahahaha! Dima!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Diller M

    How does this read with regard to McPhee? I like the signing, but if he is working out deals in a lame duck role I don’t know how comfortable I am with it. I want a GM with a commitment to a real vision for the team. If thats gonna be GMGM fine, we just need to reestablish an identity and direction and move with it. If Orlov means that we are going back to possesion and speed GREAT! Lets trade some of these grinders (brower, Laich, maybe Ward) and move in that direction.

  • Owen Johnson

    Great. More blind passes in front of our own goal to no one! Seriously though, I like this. I think he can be prettay prettay good if he had a real coach.
    Woulda tried to re-sign Grabo first though.

  • Barrett

    You still need guys like Brouwer, Ward and Laich. Those are the guys that setup shop in front of the net and kill penalties.

  • Barrett

    Holtby and Grubauer as the goalie tandem is a bad idea. They barely have 150 NHL games of experience combined, including the playoffs. They need a veteran and Halak isn’t that guy.

  • For someone whose qualifying offer could have been a two-way deal (for a 1-way deal, one needs to have played at least 160 NHL games – regular season and playoffs – or at least 60 games the prior season in the NHL), this is surprising. Then again, a 2-way offer may have sent Orlov back to Russia.

  • yv

    Good signing by Caps. They have already 21 players out of 23 with contracts and more than 10M$ in projected cap space plus one buyout. Caps would be in good shape for the next season cap-wise, but a lot of teams will hear bad news that the cap would be much lower than expected (probably around 68M$, instead of 71M$) because of falling CAN$. Many teams (Pens, Flyers, etc) will have less than 1M$ per roster place remaining. So, Caps can be a big player to sign Grabo and big contract Dman.

  • Tom Martin

    If they buyout Erskine or Laich, they have plenty of cap space for another goalie

  • Hockey mom
  • Owen Johnson

    We rolled with Holtby and Neuvy the last 2 years and we were fine. Also rolled with Neuvy and Varly with a sprinkling of Holtby one year (granted we were a much better team that year).
    But, yeah, if we have space, we should sign a vet to push Holts for the starting spot.

  • Shaun Phillips

    If he is a lame duck at this point, he’s setting up the team well for whoever comes in after him in terms of contracts and cap space. Even if you go to a grinding game, you still need one or two good puck possession d-men.

  • That sounds about right.

  • scrubversive

    I think Calle has to go at least. The volume of shots and odd man breaks we’ve been letting through is absurd even when you account for the lack of skill and inexperience on the blue line. The defensive coaching needs an overhaul for sure.

    I would love to see GMGM gone, which I think would imply a coaching change. But he’s dug in like a tick and I’m not sure what it’s going to take to get rid of him.

  • Chris Vargas

    Is that a Robocop reference? I hope so.

  • So 13.5 million to sign a Second line center, and some sort of defense… Figure out what to do with or without Brooks. And Erskine.

    I have a bad feeling McPhee will do something stupid regarding Goal Tending…

  • Shaun Phillips

    I don’t see him fired either…yet. I think he’ll be on a very short leash for next season. If the team isn’t doing well by mid-late November, I think we’ll see a coaching change.

  • Shaun Phillips

    Probably waiting to see what the new cap numbers are for sure before committing the amount of cash it’ll take to keep Grabo (IMO, 5-6 yrs @ 4-6mil). Getting Orlov done early lets them see the big picture earlier. It also might entice a new GM to come knowing he’s got one less contract to worry about immediately.

  • DashingDave314

    As long as we don’t piss off Holtby in the process and Holtby is the clear starter, I’d be fine with that.

  • DashingDave314

    They should buyout both. Laich as the amnesty, Erskine as the “go away and never come back and let’s try to forget about your entire tenure as a Capital” kind.

  • Shaun Phillips

    Don’t forget the Caps still have another buyout if they want as well, so they could have 16-18 mil if they use the buyout.

    I’m hoping GMGM isn’t around long enough after the season to do something stupid regarding goaltending.

  • Tom Martin

    I agree so much on the Erskine point. So much.

  • Myan

    That’s a really smart contract, especially if we can get the right coaching in place to turn Dima into a Top 4 defenseman. I think he’s shown us enough to indicate that he can be a Top 4 guy. Even if he doesn’t pan out that way (*knock on wood), he has enough potential upside that we can move him pretty easily in a year with that contract. That’s good risk management by GMGM…now buy out Laich’s brittle groin or Green’s shadow of his former self already!

  • DashingDave314

    They amnestied Schultz, so I think we have one amnesty left. Hopefully Laich plays enough so we can do that.

  • riggorules

    I’d say add a true 3C. Can’t underestimate being strong down the middle (I miss you MP85).

    Also having a coach who isn’t obsessed with wingers’ shooting hands would open up lots of suitable lineup opportunities.

  • Frank

    Can’t compliance buyout Erskine, it’s only for pre-lockout contracts.

  • Myan

    We can’t buy out both 🙁 We already used one our buyouts so we only have 1 left under the current CBA…I wish we could buy out both Laich & Ersk but if given the choice, I’d buy out Laich. $4.5m cap hit vs Erskine’s $2m cap hit.

  • Myan

    It’s probably to everyone’s benefit to hold off the negotiations on Grabo’s contract for now. He’s been injured now for what seems like months so he doesn’t have any leverage to ask for a contract that he wants. On the other side, it wouldn’t surprise me if the management is hesitant to give him a sizable contract after he reinjured himself 5 minutes into his first game back…I’m sure the words “Brooks Laich!” crossed their minds and caused many shudders! *knock on wood*

  • Tom Martin

    O, didn’t realize that. Then maybe do the buyout DashingDave mentioned above for Erskine haha

  • Tom Martin

    I don’t dislike this idea at all. How do we feel about MJ90 as a 3rd line C? Also, if Laich isn’t bought out, i feel like we should play him here.

    I think MP85 is the biggest loss from the Erat trade disaster(moved to make room for T Willy because Erats massive contract).

    Pending UFA C’s that fit this requirement include guys like
    Ott (Barf, but not worse thing that could happen), Goc, and Legwand(who might be a little pricey)

  • Shaun Phillips

    As long as he’s not on LTIR, I think they can do it; doesn’t matter how much he’s actually playing.

  • dcsportsfan85

    How on earth were we able to re-sign Alzner at 2 yrs/ $1.285MM on his RFA contract? I know Orlov has more offensive potential, but he hasn’t put up the boxcar stats that typically get a player paid and Alzner was a more solid defender.

  • Lawrence

    Pretty much this. As much as I love offensive defenseman, we just have way too many right now. Green has been one my favorite players forever, but I think it might be time for him to move on if we want to give Orlov top 6 mins.

  • Eric Schulz

    I like a 3rd line next year of:
    Laich – Johansson – Wilson
    The problem with Johansson as a 3rd line center is that, given the makeup of this team – pretty much no defensively conscious top-6 forwards, weak on faceoffs – he doesn’t really shore up our weaknesses here. I think he’d be a fine 3rd line C in a vacuum, but for us… we need to improve faceoffs, at the very least. I’d try to see if Isles are willing to move Nielsen, see if we can overwhelm them with a foundation of Johansson and Carrick, maybe Galiev, a 2nd, and I’d be willing to throw Fehr and/or Ward into the trade as well… if they like Carrick (they are still rebuilding, so youth is a big deal, and he is cheap with plenty of upside), given their losing MacDonald, maybe they like that, and think Johansson can maybe replace mostly replace Nielsen; if we throw in a prospect or two (not Barber, Burakovsky, Schmidt, or Bowey… beyond that, I’m open; not counting Kuznetsov, Wilson, or Grubauer as prospects, but them too, if you want), that may do it; certainly adding an NHL winger (Fehr and/or Ward) *should* get it done. Nielsen, I think, would be a perfect complementary 3rd C on this team, and he’s cheap to boot ($2.75 million ain’t bad; Johansson is $2). I don’t necessarily like losing Fehr, but he’s kind of an odd man out, projecting to next year.
    Then, I want a big-time faceoff man for the 4th C between… maybe it’s Chimera and Brown? (If Ward and Fehr are gone… if not, probably one of them… which is why at least one is expendable, IMO). Maybe we can reacquire Steckel?

  • Eric Schulz

    I don’t see why we don’t keep Penner as that top-6 winger, rather than the likely-to-be much more expensive Hemsky or Cammalleri. I would expect Penner to sign for around the same money that he’s getting now. Obviously, you could argue the reason he’s signing for less is that he’s not as good, but I think he’s a better fit with Backstrom and Ovie than either Hemsky or Cammalleri would be. I love his fore-checking too… I’d say it depends on how he plays for the rest of the season, but so far, I’d have no problem with keeping our top-6 together
    (Penner – Backstrom – Ovie
    Kuznetsov – Grabovski – Brouwer).

  • Tom Martin

    In my Capsgeek roster, i had us buying out Laich, and thinking Burakovsky could maybe make the team. My whole roster went something like:

    Kuz- Backstrom- Ovi
    *big new signee* – Grabo – Brouwer
    burakovski – johanson – wilson
    chimera – fehr – ward

    Thats assuming GMGM wants Kuz playing wing, not C

    Im open to all the things you mentioned to try to sure up the 3rd line. I also was looking, and I think a guy like moulson should be someone the caps look at hard to sure up the top 6.

    Big problem with this team, imo, is too many “grit” guys and not enough places to put them. Fehr, Chimera, Ward, Laich all play the same role, but theres really only space for max 3 of them on the team.

  • Eric Schulz

    I think there’s about a 5% chance Burakovsky makes the team; I just don’t think he’ll be ready for the NHL anytime soon; not enough muscle. His skill may be tantalizing, but not yet.
    I agree about the grit guys, but I think that 1st line need a guy to do the dirty work so Ovie and Backstrom don’t have to win the board battles (often). From what I’ve seen so far, again, I love Penner for that role. He obviously has enough skill for it, even if his production isn’t what it used to be – that’s good, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to afford him; as it is, I’d guess another $2 million deal – and his forechecking is sublime. Kuznetsov on Grabovski’s wing is great, I think, because we’ve become too top-heavy recently, and that gives us depth, and Brouwer provides the dirty work on that line.
    I can’t imagine we’d be able to afford Moulson, at least not with giving us so little cap room that we’d be hamstrung. I think I’d rather have Penner right now (taking into account that Penner should cost much less), but Moulson might be a nice fit too. I like the fit, in theory.
    I really love Laich; I know he’s not the same guy, but I really think that in order for us to do anything meaningful in the playoffs we’ll need him clicking. Next year, with the cap going up and the space that’s been cleared, we could keep… I tried to use CapGeek but it was being weird. But, let’s say we keep Penner and Grabovski at $2.5 for 2 years, and $4.25 for 3. That’s:
    Penner – Backstrom – Ovechkin
    Kuznetsov – Grabovski – Brouwer
    Laich – ? – Wilson
    Chimera – ? – Ward
    Alzner – Carlson
    ? – Green
    Orlov – ?
    with Beagle and Hillen as scratches, that’s $41.66 million. If we keep Johansson and Fehr, that’s another $3.5 million: $45.16. The salary cap projects to be $71 million next year. We have *more* than enough room to add a 2nd pair AND 3rd pair defensive defenseman (conservatively, $9.5 million – $6.5 and $3); we’d have about $16 million in space. I just really don’t see why we need to worry about buying Laich out. I think he’s certainly improved in recent weeks, and with the entire offseason there’s no reason to think he won’t get much better (it looks like he’ll have the entire playoffs to heal, too). I just thinking buying him out would be rash; he’s not Erskine, a guy who looks like he’s just lost foot speed and won’t be the same. He’s just been banged up. The following year, we may need to worry about freeing up money for Kuznetsov and Holtby, among others; Johansson? If he can’t get his game back, that would be the time to buy him out. This offseason, I’d just buy out Erskine. He’ll still cost almost $630,000 against the cap, and he’s not the expensive to begin with; we’ll only really free up about $1.3 million, but I just don’t see the point of keeping him around at any price.
    I’d rather jettison Johansson, Fehr, Ward, and Carrick in a trade to acquire that 3rd liner (again, I don’t see why that wouldn’t get the Islanders to at least think about moving Nielsen… without knowing how they feel about their roster, and Carrick in particular, it’s impossible to know… maybe they don’t think Carrick will ever be an average NHLer even, and so that trade looks like shit… I don’t know). Maybe we have to give them something like Johansson, Carrick, Fehr, Galiev, a 2nd next year, and a guy like Kundratek, Schilling, or Lewington. Honestly, I’d pull the trigger on that (I’d make them take a 2nd next year though, not this, when it looks like we’ll miss the playoffs).

  • Tom Martin

    I would go with

    FA (like moulson) – Backstrom – Ovechkin
    Kuznetsov – Grabovski – Brouwer
    Fehr -Johanson – Wilson
    Chimera – Beagle – Ward
    Alzner – Carlson
    FA – Green
    Orlov – FA

    I think moulson is affordable, if we buy out Laich. I think if his season ends w this surgery(which is looking likely) the buyout is pretty likely. Beagle is a fine 4L C, and I think Fehr – Johanson – Wilson is a servicable line. Oates has already said he doesnt want Penner on the top line. He played 4th line minutes last night.

    I don’t like trading Johansson or Carrick. Carrick is young, and could develop. Johansson is, in my opinion, underrated. I think he’s a good run (or return to average run) of luck from being a 20 G scorer.

  • Eric Schulz

    I like Johansson, don’t get me wrong, but if he can be used to obtain a guy like Nielsen, then we have to do it. He’s a good player, and relatively young AND cheap, but you can’t trade away bad players to get good ones, we have to give up somebody of value. To me, he’s the one we can most afford to give up that would also be one of the most attractive to a rebuilding team. Right now, he looks like a very nice 3rd C on this team; as I said, in a vacuum, you love him as your 3rd C (similar, IMO, to Perreault in some ways), but this team needs more grit, size, defense, and faceoff winnability from that spot; unless we want to move Grabovski (or let him walk) so that Johansson moves to 2nd C, I don’t think the team can thrive with that little defense from the top 3 units even if we upgrade on defense.

    Carrick *could* develop; Nielsen doesn’t need to. I consider Carrick by far the most expendable of our offensive defenders (Carlson, Green, Orlov, Schmidt, and Carrick). If we keep the first four and Bowey, then I’m pretty happy with the state of our defense, as long as we look to add a defensive guy to pair with Green.