The Key Stat: Normally, Orlov’s impact comes less from points and more from his influence from a shot-share and goal-share perspective. This year, though, Orlov’s 1.31 points per 60 was the 2nd highest in his career and his highest rate in the last 5 years. Not bad, given that Orlov (again) was in the black from a possession standpoint.
The Good: Orlov is consistently one of the most valuable Caps defensemen from a possession standpoint, which did not change this year. Despite playing big minutes and getting tough matchups, Orlov again posted strong numbers in expected goals (52.0%) and actual goals (59.5%). What was different this year? Orlov also contributed offensively, scoring at the second-highest clip of his career (when adjusted per 60) and shooting at the highest rate of his career. All of this led to a very strong regular season for Orlov, despite missing 4 games due to COVID. It makes it all the more disappointing...
The Bad: ...how Orlov played in the playoffs. Yes, Orlov was playing with an obviously hobbled John Carlson and had to play a lot of minutes against Boston’s top players. Whichever way you slice it, though, a 33% expected goals number against Boston isn’t going to cut it, particularly given that Carlson-Orlov played the most minutes of the 3 pairs at even strength. It’s unclear exactly what share of the blame Orlov deserves, but the Caps are going to need him to be more effective next year in the playoffs if they hope to go on a run.
The Discussion: Which d-partner would you like Orlov to have next year? Would you like the Caps to continue to experiment with Orlov and Carlson, or is there a better defensemen who can optimize Orlov’s skill set? Further, do you view Orlov as a bona-fide first pair defensemen, a strong second pair one, or something in-between? And finally, what would it take for you to give Orlov a 10 next season?
The Vote: Rate Dmitry Orlov below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.
How do you rate Dmitry Orlov’s 2020-21 season?
This poll is closed