2023 Free Agency
Dmitry Orlov, Impending Free Agent, Could Reunite With Capitals
Trading Dmitry Orlov wasn’t easy for Brian MacLellan.
The Washington Capitals were all that Orlov, 31, had known during his American hockey career. But the Capitals were in the midst of a five-game losing streak and, as the NHL’s trade deadline neared, missing the playoffs was an increasing possibility.
With an expiring contract, Orlov was expendable. And on Feb. 23, the Russian defenseman was shipped out of town.
“Orly has always been a great player for us,” MacLellan, the Capitals’ general manager, said on trade deadline day. “I think, even in our own market, he’s underrated, how good he is and how good he’s been. It’s hard to lose good people, people you’ve had success with and that are really good players. It’s tough to move on from it.”
Orlov, along with teammate Garnet Hathaway, ended up in Boston as part of a three-team deal. The Capitals received forward Craig Smith and draft capital, allowing them to acquire 22-year-old defenseman Rasmus Sandin from the Toronto Maple Leafs days later in a separate trade.
GM Brian MacLellan on today's trade with Boston: pic.twitter.com/M5OsOGFgk1
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) February 23, 2023
With Orlov, the Bruins went on to capture the President’s Trophy — but a first round upset put an end to the team’s season much earlier than anticipated.
Speaking with the media on Tuesday, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said that the team’s current salary cap state would make retaining Orlov, Hathaway and fellow deadline acquisition Tyler Bertuzzi impossible — potentially putting an end to Orlov’s stint up north after only 30 games.
So what’s next for Orlov?
If he makes it to free agency, he will have no lack of suitors. Orlov ranks third among free agent defensemen with 36 points during the 2022-23 season, finishing with a plus/minus of +12.
First as a Bruin was a BLAST 🚀 pic.twitter.com/RCYR4OxgJQ
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) March 1, 2023
Based on Orlov’s history with the organization, the Capitals — who have a projected $6.5 million in cap space according to Puckpedia — could be in that mix. But while Orlov is looking for his “last contract,” his role in Washington would likely diminish by the end of any such deal.
“I think we’ve got two young guys — Sandin and [Martin Fehervary] — that hopefully we can be build around going forward,” MacLellan said. “We’re gonna have two young, top 4 defensemen that will be a big part of our team for a lot of years to come.”
Given the circumstances, could Orlov see himself back in Washington?
“We’ll see,” Orlov said last week. “It’s tough. Probably, yeah. They’re going to talk to my agent. How I see it, if they trade me, I don’t think it’s going to work out. But we’ll see.”