Photo: Amanda Bowen
On Saturday, Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner spoke to the media and predicted big things from a player likely slated for the team’s third defensive pairing.
“It’s just fun to see him handle the puck out there and do some of the things he does,” Alzner said to NHL.com’s Katie Brown. “He’s a very highly skilled player and he can be a game-breaker for us. It’ll be a lot of fun to watch.”
The player Alzner is talking about: Dmitry Orlov.
Orlov, going into his fifth season with the Capitals organization, is concluding a two-year, $4 million contract and he’ll become a restricted free agent next summer. He first debuted in the NHL on November 21, 2011, and has played in 119 games since – a total that amounts to a full season and change of NHL action.
Orlov missed all of last season after complications from a severe wrist injury he suffered at the 2014 World Championship. Orlov explained to RMNB last year that it was the second time he had broken that wrist in his career. After surgery, he got an infection. Then he struggled with scar tissue that limited the mobility of his wrist.
“If he has the opportunity to get some power play minutes and to be in the lineup more consistently and not get hurt, he has a chance to easily be in the 20 points [range], definitely 30 points if he has bounces going his way,” Alzner said. “He’s a special player and he crushes guys out there too, which is sometimes surprising because he’s not the biggest, most imposing guy, but he can hit.”
Orlov has been raring to go since the tail end of last season. After a three-game rehab stint with Hershey where he put up three points, Barry Trotz opted to sit the Russian defenseman in the playoffs, as it was too late to work him into the lineup by then.
Trotz is experimenting with Orlov, putting him together with fellow countrymen Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin during three-on-three overtime drills.
Dmitry Olov on 3-on-3 with fellow Russians Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov: 'Nobody undertsands what we say. Nobody know what we do.'
— Chuck Gormley (@CharlesAGormley) September 20, 2015
During training camp, Orlov has been skating on a pairing with Nate Schmidt.
Barry Trotz says he'd like to see D Dmitry Orlov play in 5 of Caps' 7 preseason games. #CapitalsTalk
— Chuck Gormley (@CharlesAGormley) September 19, 2015
No one defenseman will be able to single-handedly replace Mike Green’s production from last season, but a few days into training camp, it appears Trotz is intrigued to see just what he has in Orlov. If you ask Alzner, he could be a game-breaker.
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