The Washington Capitals are likely to move a defenseman. It might be Orlov.
In 2018-19, the writing was on the wall for Matt Niskanen. That offseason, the Washington Capitals traded him to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for Radko Gudas. In 2019-20, the defense didn’t get any better. In fact, it got worse. Now in this offseason, the Caps will likely move another defenseman and the likely player to go out is Dmitry Orlov.
Orlov scored a combined seven goals over the last two seasons after a career high 10 goals in 2017-18. It’s not just his scoring that he’s struggled with but constantly turning the puck over despite getting top four minutes.
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Orlov had 65 giveaways which was on pace to be a career worst if they finished the season. His hits and takeaways also dropped for a third straight season. Orlov registered a shooting percentage of just under four for the second straight season, finishing at 3.8. Orlov’s last two seasons have been his lowest effectiveness at shooting despite continuing to put more than 100 pucks on net both years.
But perhaps the biggest reason to trade him isn’t the bad stats but rather his cap hit. He’s the second highest paid defenseman behind John Carlson. Orlov’s cap hit is a whooping $5.1 million per season. He is signed through 2023-24.
Moving Orlov to shed salary will likely help in the team’s mission in bringing back Brenden Dillon, who will be due for a raise this offseason and will likely pair next to Carlson. A full season with Dillon should help the defense, a unit desperately trying to improve after a drop off year last season.
Moving Orlov will also help the team save money in trying to extend Alex Ovechkin‘s contract, which will be their biggest project once they make all the draft and free agency decisions.
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While Jensen and Kempny might be a better trade option, they only carry a $2.5 million dollar cap hit each. It might be easier said than done but thankfully I’m not the one who makes these decisions. If either player gets moved, what happens to the money in trying to extend Dillon and Ovechkin?
Either way, Orlov is due for a big season no matter which NHL team he suits up for.