Washington Capitals: Dmitry Orlov is Defensive MVP of 2021

The Washington Capitals defense had it’s highs and mostly lows but their best defensive player throughout the 2021 season was easily Dmitry Orlov.

John Carlson had a down season. Brenden Dillon had an up and down year. Justin Schultz showed offensive upside while showing defensive question marks. Nick Jensen improved dramatically and Zdeno Chara helped improve the locker room.

While some of those players were good, none stood out the way Orlov did. Orlov was second on the team in goals among defensemen and was a beast when it came to advanced stats possession metrics.

Orlov finished with eight goals and 14 assists for 22 points in 51 games. He only missed time in the beginning of the season due being on the COVID-19 protocols list among the Russian four. Out of all of them, Alex Ovechkin and Orlov seemed to learn their lesson.

Orlov had a plus/minus of +16. He averaged 19:49 of ice time per game being a mainstay on the middle pair which has been unchanged from the past few seasons. Orlov had 50 blocked shots and 87 hits.

Now onto the possession metrics. In terms of Corsi For percentage, Orlov led defensemen in that category in terms of playing the bulk of the season. Trevor van Riemsdyk led in Corsi For percentage overall but played in 20 games.

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Orlov had a Corsi For percentage of 52.02 percent and an Expected Goals For percentage of 51.96 percent via Natural Stat Trick. Orlov was paired mostly with Justin Schultz on the second pair. He helped make Schultz better.

Orlov and Schultz had a Corsi For percentage of 49.14 percent together. Orlov’s Corsi For percentage without Schultz went up to 55.08 percent.

Overall, Orlov had an impressive season and made me eat my words when I suggested the team should trade him back in September. Though I like it when I am proven wrong especially by guys like Orlov.