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Dmitry Orlov: Does His New Contract Stack Up?

August 2nd, 2017 at 11:12 AM
Aggregated By Sports Media 101

Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

On June 30, 2017, the Washington Capitals re-signed 26 year-old defenseman Dmitry Orlov to a new six-year contract worth $30.6 million.

There was much rejoicing in and around the greater Washington area. Orlov, almost indisputably the Capitals’ most improved player over the previous season, has become a reliable fixture on Washington’s top pairing along with Matt Niskanen, and the move helped shore up a Capitals blue line that had been decimated by the twin devils of Free Agency and the Expansion Draft. With Iron Man Karl Alzner departing to fields plus verts in Montreal and Nate Schmidt sucked into the gaping maw of GM George McPhee and Vegas, Washington turned to Orlov.

The Capitals are betting hard on Orlov, hoping that the young Russian can not only sop up high-value defensive minutes like a back-checking Brawny paper towel, but also (presumably) quarterback the top power-play unit and even kill some penalties. Orlov earned the contract through hard work after a somewhat tumultuous young career, and the Capitals rewarded him big time.

Now, all that remains to be seen is if he’s worth it.

It’s been an off-season of big defensive signings around the league. So, how does Orlov’s deal compare to those signed by other similar blueliners this summer?

Let’s take a look-see!

Dmitry Orlov

Washington Capitals | 26 years old | 6 years x $5.1 million AAV

A few cold, hard, vital facts jump out about Orlov.

First, he is both the oldest and the most experienced player on this list. His five active seasons in the NHL are more than any other defenseman here, and Orlov has certainly seen his share of ups and downs during that time.

His 0.33 points per game over his career is the second-fewest on this list (ahead of only fellow relative old man Brian Dumoulin), and barely more than half the rate of group leader and offensive firebrand Shayne Gostisbehere (0.60). Orlov’s offensive point-shares, however, jump him up to second on this list – again, behind Gostisbehere – and his defensive point-shares have him leading the group by a mile (13.5 to second-place Parayko’s 10.4).

It should be noted, though, that if you only consider the last two seasons – in which Orlov’s play has dramatically improved – his points/60 total skyrockets to 1.11, good for 8th in the entire NHL among defensemen and most on this list.

No other player on this list drove possession in 2016-2017 for his team as much as Orlov, too. His Corsi-For percentage relative to his teammates (that is, how much possession tilted for or against his team when that player was on versus off the ice) led all Capitals defensemen at 4.5%, and trailed only Andre Burakovsky among all Washington skaters. For reference, Shayne Gostisbehere came in second among this group at just 3.4%, and Nikita Zaitsev brought up the rear at -1.8%.

Orlov also led this group in primary assists/60. His even-strength 0.59 rate was good for 6th in the entire NHL among defensemen. The one thing the firebrand Russian doesn’t do much of, despite having one of the very best slapshots on the Capitals (hello, sexy Oshie one-legged slapper) is shoot. Orlov’s 4.65 shots per game in ’16-’17 put him fourth of the six players listed here.

In his final season, Orlov will be 31 years old and making $5.1 million.

Shayne Gostisbehere

Philadelphia Flyers | 24 years old | 6 years x $4.5 million AAV

What can you say about Sugar Shayne Gostisbehere that Philadelphia fans haven’t …

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Tags: Andre Burakovsky, Brian Dumoulin, Carolina Hurricanes, Colton Parayko, Dan Milstein claims, Dmitry Orlov,, Jake Gardiner, John Carlson, Matt Niskanen, Nikita Zaitsev, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Roman Polak, Shayne Gostisbehere, St. Louis Blues, stanley cup, Toronto Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals

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