Every player on an NHL team plays a role.Some, of course, play bigger roles than others.
In the coming weeks, Tarik El-Bashir and JJ Regan will rank the 25 most important players in the Caps’ organization, from least to most important, weighing factors such as past production, future potential and intangibles.
Today’s player: No. 8 Dmitry Orlov
Dmitry Orlov's first season under Barry Trotz was one to forget as a wrist injury forced him to miss the entire 2014-15 season. No one knew quite what to expect from him the following season as a third-pair defenseman, but he managed a strong 82-game campaign and showed he was ready for a top-four role.
The biggest issue that held Orlov back was his tendency for making egregious mistakes in the defensive zone. For the most part, he was a solid defensive player, but he gave up some mind-blowing turnovers leading general manager Brian MacLellan to refer to him as a "high event player." But he unquestionably took another step forward this past season, cut down on his miskates and will enter the 2017-18 season on the top pair alongside Matt Niskanen.
Orlov's importance to the team was reflected in the new contract he signed in the offseason. After playing on a one-year deal that paid him $2.57 million, Orlov re-signed for six years, $30.6 million. That deal carries a cap hit of $5.1 million.
The 26-year-old Russian defenseman is entering his prime. On the offensive end of the ice, he has an incredibly strong slap shot that can be hard to stop when it is on target. Defensively, he is a hard-hitting player who now plays on the team's top shutdown pair along with Niskanen. The major weakness to his game is the turnovers, but when he is playing a responsible, smart game, he is a tremendous player.
The Capitals are enter next season with questions on both the second and third pair. They don't have any questions about their top pair, however, with Orlov on the left.
Check out the full list of the Caps most important players as it comes out here and check out previous player profiles below.
— No. 25 Aaron Ness
— No. 24 Chandler Stephenson
— No. 23 Riley Barber
— No. 22 Pheonix Copley
— No. 21 Devante Smith-Pelly
— No. 20 Taylor Chorney
— No. 19 Nathan Walker
— No. 18 Philipp Grubauer
— No. 17 Christian Djoos
— No. 16 Madison Bowey
— No. 15 Jay Beagle
— No. 14 Brett Connolly
— No. 13 Tom Wilson
— No. 12 Lars Eller
— No. 11 Jakub Vrana
— No. 10 Brooks Orpik
— No. 9 John Carlson