Development camp in July is a lot about scouts and the front office seeing how young players are coming along and if any free agent invitees warrant a second look. Dmitry Orlov is still young (he’ll turn 20 on Saturday), but he has his sights set on something bigger.
“At this point, the main camp is coming in September and that’s where I intend to prove myself,” he said Saturday through interpreter Igor Kleyner of Russian Machine Never Breaks.
The Capitals think highly of Orlov, and justifiably so. At a young age, he has all the tools to be an NHL defenseman. But that might be exactly why he’s in the American Hockey League to start the season instead.
With seven NHL defensemen (plus Tom Poti) already, the Caps might want to see Orlov play every day, rather than six as their seventh guy or get limited minutes on the third pairing.
But that doesn’t mean he’s resigning himself to anything.
“If I end up in Hershey, so be it, that’s where I’m going to have to prove myself,” Orlov said. “I’ll just try to do my best. I have plenty of room to grow as a hockey player and if I do end up in Hershey I will just try to prove to them that they were wrong in sending me back there and try to work my way back here.”
It’s only speculation, but it’s possible Orlov does what Karl Alzner did a couple seasons ago, shuttling back and forth between Washington and Hershey.
Still, Orlov will be at training camp in September for his opportunity to stick. He might also draw from the wisdom of George McPhee from earlier in the week.
“As we’ve said in the past, if one of these young guys is good enough, we’ll make room for ’em,” he said.