Caps’ GM Brian MacLellan made a big move yesterday, trading away Garnet Hathaway and Dmitry Orlov to Boston for a trio of draft picks and forward Craig Smith (and while Hathaway will certainly be missed, both for his work on the ice and in the community...this article ain’t about him).
It’s been somewhat surreal to see Orlov’s name thrown around as a potential trade target in recent days, as word got out that extension talks between him and the team that drafted him back in 2009 were not going well. It was even more surreal to learn that he was headed out of town to don the spoked B up in Boston, ending an 11-year run with the Capitals
Orlov was one of the longest-tenured defensemen in the team’s history, having just recently - like, last game recently - passed Kevin Hatcher for the fifth-most games played by a Caps’ blueliner. He was part of a lengthy run of stellar blueliner draft picks by the Caps, selected on the heels of Mike Green (2004), Karl Alzner (2007), and John Carlson (2009), all of whom played 500+ games with the organization and at least 600 games in the NHL.
He did a lot in those 686 games, at both ends of the ice, finishing his Caps’ career with 60 goals, 256 points, and 1089 hits; he added another 23 points (and 147 hits) - and, of course, a Stanley Cup ring - in 74 playoff appearances.
Yet despite his decade-plus as a full-time Cap, there was always something a bit under-the-radar about Orlov’s tenure in DC. He never had the elite offensive skills of Green or Carlson, but also wasn’t the pure stay-at-home type like Alzner - falling somewhere in between, and largely staying out of the spotlight on a squad filled with guys capable of grabbing and holding it.
What has been fun about Orlov is his ability to hide in plain sight (in a good way) and then jump out and do something truly awesome - whether that was uncorking a cannon of a shot from the blueline (frankly something he probably could have done more often), making a fancy move or two and rushing up ice for an overtime winner, or revitalizing and perfecting the long-lost art of the epic hip check.
Somewhere, Matt Duchene is still spinning.
There is, perhaps, a little bit of unfulfilled potential to his time in DC. It took him a little while to find his legs in the NHL, and it’s really only in the last few years that we’ve seen the best out of him on a more regular basis (...minus this very recent run, which is probably a stretch that is best forgotten, for him and his now-former squad). All in all, though, as he heads off to new adventures (and a very good shot at another Cup) in Boston, he leaves behind an overall extremely good body of work in the District.
And no matter where he ends up after this, be it Boston or elsewhere, he is immortalized in that 2018 band of brothers - forever a Cap.
Best of luck, Dmitry! You will be missed.