Report: Orlov to sign one-year deal with Caps, could get top-four role this season

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The Washington Capitals are on the verge of signing defenseman Dmitry Orlov to a one-year contract worth “in the neighborhood of $2.6 million,” according to the Washington Post. 

Orlov, 25, is a restricted free agent. He made $2.25 million last season, when he scored a career high-29 points in 82 games.

“I would like to stay [in Washington],” he said recently. “But I don’t know how it’s going to happen. We’ll see.”

From the Post’s report:

The reason the contract talks have taken this long likely has more to do with Orlov wanting a more substantial role with the team than disagreements over salary or term. Orlov averaged about 16 minutes per game last season, mostly playing on the third defensive pairing. He didn’t kill penalties, and his power play time was limited.

Throughout the summer, the Capitals’ coaching staff and management has repeatedly spoken of giving more responsibility to Orlov, potentially pairing him with Matt Niskanen or John Carlson in a top-four role. That would involve playing more minutes with more challenging defensive assignments. Though he wouldn’t be getting much of a raise on a one-year deal worth about $2.6 million, the sales pitch could be that he’d have an opportunity for more production as a top defenseman and then sign a more profitable deal in a year, when Washington is expected to have more salary cap space because Justin Williams, Daniel Winnik, T.J. Oshie and Karl Alzner will be hitting unrestricted free agency.

If Orlov does indeed get a top-four role on the left side, it could mean less ice time for 35-year-old Brooks Orpik, who still has three years left on his contract, with a cap hit of $5.5 million. And if it’s not Orpik that plays less, it will have to be Alzner.

Orlov is currently playing for Russia at the World Cup.