Photo credit: Sweetest Hockey On Earth’s Kyle Mace

Washington Capitals defense prospect Dmitry Orlov is getting another chance with the big league team. After missing his last opportunity to be called-up due to pink eye, Orlov put on a show upon returning to the Bears line-up, scoring six points in three games — including a career-high four points against St. John’s on October 19th. He leads the Bears in points. Dima’s even shooting more, putting three shots on net in his latest game against Norfolk.

Orlov has not played with the Capitals since his 60-game stint in 2010-11, which ended in Dale Hunter’s dog house after a few too many rookie mistakes.

The Capitals also have recalled pest Michael Latta, who has also been dominant since getting sent down to Hershey, tallying four points in six games. He is the team’s second leading scorer. Latta also has shown off his physical side too, dropping the mitts once and breaking a pane of glass on a bodycheck.

According to Mike Vogel, General manager George McPhee must make a corresponding roster move/s to accommodate his new toys. What do you think it/they’ll be?

UPDATE IMMEDIATELY AFTER WE PUBLISHED:

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GIFs by Ian Oland

The Washington Capitals have tried to improve their physical play in recent years, adding more power forward prospects into their system. On Sunday, two of those prospects playing for the Caps’ AHL affiliate in Hershey — Michael Latta and Garrett Mitchell — combined for a big hit on Norfolk Admirals’ forward and Anaheim Ducks prospect Max Friberg. The hit was so powerful that it made the glass unhinge and fly into the Giant Center crowd.

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Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

The fourth line of the Washington Capitals is an interesting thing. It features a $4.5 million veteran playmaker on the left (Martin Erat), a 22-year-old up-and-down call-up at center (Michael Latta), and a 19-year-old wrecking ball on the right (Tom Wilson). We’ll focus on Latta for now. In his return to the lineup, the new guy drew two penalties and delivered some nice hits. That’s about all you can ask from a fourth liner, though the trio’s good game was muted by Carolina’s winning third period goal.

“Drawing two penalties is excellent,” head coach Adam Oates told reporters. “You want that from that line. You want them to create opportunities and get momentum: that’s what a forth line does.”

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Tyson Strachan didn’t make the team; will Tom Wilson? (Photo credit: Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

With the deadline to submit opening-day rosters approaching at 5:00 PM Tuesday, the Washington Capitals moved towards finalizing their 23-player roster with a flurry of moves on Sunday.

The Caps assigned defensemen Michal Cajkovsky, Dmitry Orlov, and Tyson Strachan (who cleared waivers at noon) and forward Dane Byers to the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears. They have also placed forward Joel Rechlicz on waivers. Today was the final day players could be put on waivers before rosters must be set, meaning the Caps won’t be able to demote any more players who have those rights.

That leaves Washington with 21 players on the roster (13 forwards, six defensemen and two goaltenders) and three prospects trying to crack the lineup: Connor Carrick, Tom Wilson, and Michael Latta.

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Martin Erat’s Goal Was Actually Michael Latta’s

Michael Latta celebrates a goal. (Photo credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

The Washington Capitals brought their B-team players to Boston on Monday, but the Boston Bruins brought in their B-team scorekeepers. According to them, the Bruins led shots 38-14. Okay, maybe. But also according to them, the Caps’ third-period goal was scored by Martin Erat and assisted by Nate Schmidt and Mikhail Grabovski.

No. It was Michael Latta‘s. Really. Let’s take a look.

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At first, we didn’t have video of Joel Rechlicz’s decisive shootout goal to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 on Monday night, so we had to use our imaginations. Now, thanks to the magic of the Internet, the Capitals have graciously provided us evidence that this thing actually happened.

Rechlicz, the Caps’ fourth and final shooter, delivers the puck to crease before yanking it aside and backhanding it in– quite casually– to finalize the fight-filled fiasco of a game against the Flyers. Michael Latta and Garrett Mitchell fought earlier in the game, and we’ve got video below. We’ve also got another angle on Wrecker’s goal from RMNB reader Salvatore P., who was in Philly and was kind enough to share his view on our Facebook page.

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Tom Wilson and Madison Bowey during Caps Development Camp in July. (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)

[Editor's Note: Fedor has reported on Washington Capitals prospects for RMNB for the last three years. This year we're proud to introduce his prospect rankings. The rankings will be updated three times during the season-- with the goal of updating you on how prospects are or not progressing. The first edition of the rankings come on the second day of Rookie Camp, as Caps prospects jockey for position within the organization.]

The Washington Capitals have re-stocked their prospect pipeline over the past two NHL drafts, giving fans a wealth of new players to get excited about in addition to a few solid free-agent prospects signings.

The 2012 Draft is turning out be a sterling spot on George McPhee’s resume. After picking Filip Forsberg and Tom Wilson in the first round, GMGM made a few strong picks in the latter rounds with Thomas DiPauli, Connor Carrick, Riley Barber, and Christian Djoos– all of whom have been invited to their junior national team camps and left good impressions.

Depth on defense is an area of strength for this crop of talent, with more than a few prospects ready to compete for roster spots as soon as they open.

Below, check out inaugural edition of the RMNB prospect rankings.

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Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee went on ESPN980 Wednesday afternoon to talk hockey, and boy did he hit some interesting topics. McPhee explained what characteristics the Caps need to have to become a Stanley Cup winner in the future, and he defended his decision to anoint Brooks Laich the second-line center for next season. “There are a handful of teams that maybe have a better second-line center than Brooks,” he said. “It’s [an idea] we’ve been talking about for a few years, and the time has come to do it.”

The most interesting part of the discussion, however, was McPhee’s remarks on Capitals prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov, who is due in North America sometime next year. McPhee admits some frustration about the two-year contract Kuznetsov signed with Traktor Chelyabinsk last spring to stay in the KHL, saying that Kuznetsov went against a verbal promise he made after the 2010 NHL Draft. He also talks about how hard of a contract it was for Kuznetsov to turn down. “He’s 20-years-old, they gave him ten million dollars to play for two more seasons,” McPhee said.  “It’s a 13% tax rate over there and even with that, most of the money is under the table. It’s probably no tax.”

The KHL never made Kuzya’s contract public, but it is believed his average annual salary from Traktor is in the two-million range. That would mean that the KHL gave Kuznetsov a bonus around $5 million to stay. And, as we learned from an Igor Kleyner post last year, the KHL’s Legal Regulations handbook has a open-ended rule that allows the league to do exactly just that.

[Traktor] may also apply to the KHL for a special stipend to supplement the young star’s salary. There are no specific limits on the amount of such a stipend, or any clear criteria defining eligibility.

Below, check out McPhee’s entire interview with ESPN980.

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Photo credit: AHL Tumblr

When the Caps traded Filip Forsberg to Nashville Predators, a divided fanbase described the return as “Martin Erat and some other guy”. That other guy, Michael Latta, is more than just an add-in for the deal.

At 21 years of age, Latta, who played for Nashville’s AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals, is nearing his NHL debut. Despite his relatively small stature (6-foot, 215 pounds), he hits hard and can drop the gloves. Latta is an agitator, which was one reason why the Caps drafted Tom Wilson last year while talented players like Teuvo Teravainen, Sebastian Collberg, and Mark Jankowski were still available.
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Photo credit: Hannah Foslien

A little before 5pm, the Washington Capitals traded their future in the hopes of winning a Stanley Cup now: Filip Forsberg for Martin Erat and Michael Latta.

Many people, including us, think that is a bad idea. Erat, while a top-six forward, is aging and well compensated. The Caps are now on the hook for his $4.5 million yearly salary for the next two seasons, with a salary cap that is going down by six million next year. He’s scored just four goals this year.

Washington, it seems, wants to win now. If they don’t — and remember it’s a toss-up and whether they’ll even make the playoffs — this trade will have been a bad idea. George McPhee, therefore, has some explaining to do. He did that Wednesday evening.

“I wasn’t going to sell,” McPhee told Monumental Network. “I wasn’t going to attempt to sell anything. We would add if we could and I think we added a real good piece.”

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