Last week, Dmitry Orlov‘s agent made it publicly known that his client wanted out of Washington. Orlov’s agent, Mark Gandler, said that “It’s becoming increasingly hard for Dmitry to continue this shuttle without playing a game”. The shuttle Gandler is referring to is the fact that Orlov has been in call-up-limbo, being bounced around between Washington and their AHL affiliate in Hershey. Despite this tug of war, Orlov has only played one game in the NHL this year, logging 13:41 in ice time and taking 14 shifts. 0 points, an even plus-minus rating, and one shot on goal. So why hasn’t George McPhee, the Capital’s GM, just let him play in Hershey? Well, that’s because Orlov has a clause in his contract stating that if he hasn’t spent a minimum of 30 days on the Capital’s active roster, he can return to his native Russia, and potentially become one of the dozens of NHL prospects who got tired of waiting for their shot, and returned to the KHL. Unfortunately for Orlov, being on the active roster doesn’t actually mean playing games, seeing as how he’s been on the roster for 21 days now, suiting up for only one game in that span. Orlov is in the final year of his entry-level contract, and it doesn’t seem like he has any interest in re-signing with the Caps, despite his RFA status. Because of this, it makes sense for both parties to trade the Novokutznesk born defenseman.
The Capitals haven’t begun contacting teams regarding Orlov yet, as Martin Erat has also requested a trade, just days before Orlov did. So, while McPhee takes care of Erat’s wants, Orlov is on hold. But that doesn’t mean we can’t speculate as to where he’ll end up.
There are plenty of teams in the NHL looking for a young defenseman like Orlov, so the Capitals will have no problem finding buyers, it’s just a matter of finding the right deal. Interested teams might be wary of Orlov, as he is something of a flight risk to return to the KHL even if a move is made. Washington is interested in strengthening their blue line with a veteran who can help along some of their younger talents like Nate Schmidt and Alexander Urbom, both only 22 years old. The oldest defenseman on their roster is John Erskine, who is 33 years old, but has only played 7 games this season. A deal that has been mentioned before is Dmitry Orlov and Michal Neuvirth to Vancouver for Dan Hamhuis, a reliable two-way defenseman who will turn 31 this month. Another team that could be interested is the Ottawa Senators, who are reportedly looking for another puck-moving defenseman to compliment Erik Karlsson. Senators GM Bryan Murray has reportedly been in talks with Rangers GM Glen Sather regarding Michael Del Zotto , but if he finds that the price is too steep, he might consider Orlov as an option. The Calgary Flames are also looking for young defensive prospects, and have shopping fifth-year forward Mikael Backlund, who could be an integral piece in a deal for Orlov.