For all the trouble the Caps blue line experienced in 2017-18, Dmitry Orlov was solid with a very tough workload.
|23.1||time on ice per game|
|49.8||5-on-5 shot-attempt percentage, adjusted|
|53.0||5-on-5 goal percentage, adjusted|
About this visualization: This series of charts made by Micah Blake McCurdy of hockeyviz.com shows various metrics for the player over the course of the season. A short description of each chart:
Dmitry Orlov’s role on the Caps blue line has evolved over time. Once an offensively deployed depth defenseman, Orlov is now indisputably doing shutdown work.
He’s playing hard minutes (lower on the chart) and more of them (right on the chart) than he ever has before, and, more importantly, he’s doing it well. Only Matt Niskanen saw a bigger share of his ice time against the opponent’s star players, but Orlov did darn well in that time, limiting those star players to 52 percent of shot attempts during their head-to-head ice time.
|TOI vs stars||TOI% vs stars||SA% vs stars|
And despite playing the biggest share of his ice time against stars, Orlov sported the highest overall shot-attempt percentage of anyone except sheltered Christian Djoos and the lowest opponent scoring-chance rate among all defensemen.
There were tons of problems among the Caps defensive corps last season, and exactly none of those problems involved Dmitry Orlov. He was dependable despite very tough assignments, and he got even better in the postseason.
Now entering what will be his age-27 year, Orlov is about to show us his prime. Can a rehabilitated blue line help Orlov increase his offensive involvement? Will the high-risk/high-reward narrative finally leave him alone (and pester John Carlson instead, where it’s merited)?
What’s a reasonable expectation for Orlov’s offensive contributions next season? He notched double-digit goals for the first time this year. After dancing around 30 points for three years, can we ask him to kick up a notch?
Read more: Japers’ Rink
Headline photo: Cara Bahniuk
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