The Washington Capitals have another disgruntled player on their hands.
After being recalled from the AHL five times this month without once seeing NHL action, defenseman Dmitry Orlov is demanding a trade.
“It’s becoming increasingly hard for Dmitry to continue with this shuttle without any hope of playing a game,” Orlov’s agent, Mark Gandler, told Katie Carerra of The Washington Post. “The coach can’t see him in the lineup. He’s been around. Everybody knows what he can bring, there’s no question marks here. I think that the team can get something for him at this point and move forward. I think that would be the best solution for everybody.”
The shuttle between Hershey and Washington has been frustrating, but it isn’t without purpose. Carerra quotes a league source as saying Orlov’s contract contains a clause that would allow him to leave for Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League on Jan. 1, 2014 if he has not been on the active NHL roster for a total of 30 days this season.
Based on the various stints he has had with the Capitals, Orlov has spent 19 days on the active roster so far.
Orlov has no intention of returning to the KHL, though. Gandler says his client wants to play in the NHL.
It’s unlikely McPhee will be as willing to deal Orlov as he is to shop Martin Erat. The veteran winger made his own trade demand on Monday but, at 32, he’s at a different stage in his career.
Orlov is just 22, and the 2009 second rounder has an intriguing skill set. He’s a slick skater with a big shot and projects as a top-four defender. His development has been slow, but he’s played well this season at Hershey after suffering through concussion issues last year, and if he’s not fully back on track, he’s close.
That’s what makes him so tricky to trade. McPhee, who drafted Orlov, understands his potential as well as anyone, but all trade partners see is a devalued asset that they’ll want to take off his hands at pennies on the dollar.
But there may be an upside to the situation: if McPhee can package both players, he might get what he really needs–a solid, left-shooting defenseman.