- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Washington Capitals have signed 25-year-old defenseman Dmitry Orlov to a one-year, $2.57 million contract.

Orlov remained as Washington’s last restricted free agent of the offseason.

“I’m excited,” Orlov said. “I’m hoping we are going to have a good year because we are a great team and great teammates. It’s going to be a fun year. Should be a good year for us, and I can’t wait.”

Orlov, who finished with eight goals and 21 assists last season, is expected to play in a top-four role with the Capitals this upcoming season. Both head coach Barry Trotz and associate head coach Todd Reirden said higher expectations for Orlov will be set this season.

“I envision him playing with a [Matt] Niskanen or a [John] Carlson, probably more prime minutes against more guys and try to even our defense out a little bit in terms of the minutes,” Trotz said in August. “It’s a great opportunity for him. He’s at the right age where he can really contribute. We look for his contributions on the power play, the penalty kill, playing in sort of that top-four pairing on a regular basis. I just think it’s right for him.”

“They talked to me in the summer time a few times,” Orlov said. “It’s always nice to hear (of an increased role), but (I) have to show them what they expect from me.”

The one-year, low-cost deal works well for both sides. Including Orlov’s contract, the Capitals currently have $884,871 in cap space with 22 rostered players, according to CapFriendly. That allows Washington to fit one other player on an entry-level deal on the roster by the time the start of the season starts. And the low term works well in Orlov’s favor. With a one-year deal, Orlov will have an opportunity to improve off of his previous year, which could potentially yield him not only a longer extension, but a deal with a high average annual salary.

Orlov, currently participating in the World Cup of Hockey for Russia, can breathe a sigh of relief and focus on the tournament. The four-year pro has recorded 14 goals and 46 assists in 201 career games.


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