ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov had become all too familiar with the trip from Washington to Hershey, Pa., constantly shuttling between the NHL and American Hockey League during the early portion of the 2013-14 season.
Between Oct. 30 and Nov. 26, Washington recalled and subsequently reassigned the 22-year-old Russian four times without ever having him dress for a game. It was a peculiar situation to be sure, especially considering that the Capitals' defensive corps had been besieged by injuries and that Orlov appeared in 60 games in 2011-12. (An unearthed clause in his contract that stipulated that Orlov could leave for the KHL if he did not accumulate 30 days of NHL service by Jan. 1, 2014, further complicated matters.)
Orlov finally made his season debut on Nov. 30, and through his first six games, he has been silently solid in 17:03 of ice time per game. In Washington's 3-2 shootout loss against the Florida Pantherson Friday, Orlov played his best game to date, flashing glimpses of his potential by using his smooth skating ability and deft puck-handling skills to create several quality scoring chances.