It’s Dmitry Orlov time in Washington.
With the Capitals’ defense struggling, the team on Sunday called up the blue-chip prospect from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League.
“Well, we just thought we needed a little shake-up,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “It’s just somebody with a little more energy from the back end a little bit. Supposedly last night in Hershey he was fabulous. … He was the most dynamic player on the ice, and we could use one.”
Orlov, 20, has four goals and five assists in 15 games with Hershey. He was impressive offensively at training camp but his risk-reward style made the Caps seemingly reluctant to throw him into this veteran mix. The reports Boudreau got from Bears coach Mark French were glowingly positive.
“I talked to Mark for a long time last night and he said he’s by far the best defenseman they had there,” Boudreau said. “He’s still going to make mistakes – over-anxious – but for being able to make a play, especially if we’re losing. He’s out there, he’s creating, he’s doing a lot of good things.”
Orlov is a raw, left-handed defenseman who will also help out on the power play. Five-on-five, he spent Sunday’s practice skating with Karl Alzner, who, like Orlov, got an NHL chance at a young age.
“You learn from experience. There’s going to be mistakes – there’s no doubt about it. There’s always going to be mistakes,” Alzner said. “Right now it looks like he’s in a pretty good situation to come in and regardless of what mistakes are made, he’s going to get that experience and that’s going to turn him into a good player.”
Jeff Schultz could be the odd man out of the lineup as Orlov is expected to make his NHL debut Monday night at Verizon Center against the Phoenix Coyotes.