CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa.— The Capitals and Dmitry Orlov’s agent have remained in contact, but the restricted free agent sounded on Sunday night unsure of exactly where he stands with the organization that drafted him in 2009.
“I don’t know. It’s hard to say,” Orlov said, asked if he’s confident that a deal will get worked out in the coming days. “We have a good last season [as] a team. It’s always nice to play for team who have good stars, good people and systems.”
Orlov made his comments at the Penguins' practice facility in suburban Pittsburgh, where Team Russia is preparing for the World Cup of Hockey. Russia faces Canada in a pre-tournament exhibition game on Wednesday night before heading to Toronto.
Although Orlov, like all RFAs, is insured through the NHL and NHLPA, he’s still assuming some risk by participating in the eight-team tournament since he doesn't have a contract. Orlov, though, insisted that it’s not a major concern for him.
“I’m not think like that,” the 25-year-old said. “It’s always fun to play for national team…especially in this tournament because all the best players going to play there.”
“I’m not try to think about much about contract; I have an agent to do all my work,” he added, referring to his agent, Mark Gandler. “I try to focus on my game, not think about other things [like] contract. Every player wants to have contract. Every player wants to know where he’s going to play after World Cup. But right now, I focus on World Cup and see how it goes.”
Orlov acknowledged that he spoke to head coach Barry Trotz and associate coach Todd Reirden over the summer about the bigger role the organization sees him assuming this season. Late last month, in fact, Trotz told reporters that he see a "great opportunity" for Orlov in Washington.
"He called me a couple times in the summer," Orlov said of Trotz. "And Todd Reirden also called me, too. We talked about next season. But we’ll see, we’ll see.”
As an RFA, Orlov's options are fairly limited if he's unable to strike a deal with the Capitals. One option would be to play in the KHL, where CSKA Moscow owns his negotiating rights. Orlov, however, said it's his preference to stay in the NHL.
“Yeah, of course, I play five years in USA so of course I like it here,” he said. “And I would like to stay here. But I don’t know how it’s going to happen. We’ll see.”
Orlov earned $2.25 million in salary last season and counted $2 million against the salary cap. The Capitals have $3.45 million in cap room but cannot commit all of that to Orlov.
Training camp opens in Arlington on Sept. 23.
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