You’ve all read or heard the quote about Washington Capitals’ top prospect defenceman Dmitry Orlov: “I think as far as a 19 or 20-year-old, after just a few games, it’s the best 19 or 20-year-old that I’ve seen in Hershey at this level.”


The man behind the quote is Doug Yingst and after watching the 19-year old native of Novokuznetsk, Russia now for a dozen games in his recently launched professional career, the president and general manager of the AHL’s Hershey Bears isn’t about to change his tune.


Yingst told PROSPECT PRESCRIPTION that Orlov, who has scored a goal and chipped in four assists for the Bears, has been nothing short of outstanding since he arrived in Hershey and echoed his statements about the offensive-minded defender that he proclaimed earlier in the month; a week after Orlov signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Caps.


“I think in all of my years in Hershey, which is 29 years, he’s the best 19-year old I’ve seen,” said Yingst without pause. “Being able to come not only from Europe but even out of junior and be able to compete at this level. And not only compete, but excel is outstanding.”


Drafted by Washington in the second round (55th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Orlov skated for Russia at both the 2010 and 2011 World Junior Championships, getting named to the 2011 tournament All-Star team after scoring nine points, including a goal, in just seven games.


Yingst says the main thing that separates Orlov from other young defencemen is his steadfast playmaking ability. “He sees the ice extremely well. His first pass out of the zone is crisp and on the stick. And I’m just as impressed in the fact that he just doesn’t panic. He doesn’t lose control. For an individual coming here, who really can’t speak the English language, we have to teach him through the use of diagrams, it’s extraordinary.


The Bears are expecting Orlov will begin English language lessons shortly but in the meantime, forward prospect Dmitri Kugryshev is serving as Hershey’s Russian translator.

“Dmitry’s staying with him and he [Kugryshev] has been acting as an interpreter for us. But Dmitry is picking up little things here and there, in just a short time. We’ve been on the road quite a bit but he wants to get into working in English as soon as possible. Hopefully, we can get started this week.”


But while his studies in the classroom haven’t started, his education on the ice is progressing at a torrid pace.


Over the past six or seven years, Hershey has cranked out a number of NHL-ready defenceman, including Mike Green, arguably one of the top two or three fantasy options at the position and John Carlson, a Calder Trophy candidate this season for the NHL’s best rookie.

Yingst, who is quick to add Jeff Schultz and Karl Alzner to the list, says Orlov’s rapid rise only elevates Hershey’s success rate. But he says the fact the Capitals are stacked with elite talent on the back end will not stunt Orlov’s growth. In fact, it may ignite it.


“He’s such a competitive guy that I don’t think that bothers him at all. Because of the language barrier, I’m only guessing what he’s thinking, but he sees the success these players out of Hershey have had, so it gives him confidence right away that he can do the same,” offers Yingst. “I don’t think he has any fear, whatsoever, in competing against anybody.”


Asked point blank if Orlov had a shot to stick with the big club next season, Yingst said there is no doubt he will be an NHL player one day, but his career may not start in 2011-12.

“For his development and for him to fulfill his talent level, especially coming into a league that is more physical with a smaller ice surface and playing in so many more games, I think that he needs more time in Hershey,” says Yingst. “Whether it’s a half-a-year or a full-year next year, it’s yet to be determined. It depends on placements in Washington and injuries and so forth but I think taking his time in development and getting used to the game over here would be in his best interest. But he is an NHL player.”





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Jeff said:

The Carlson Conundrum I definitely side with Angus on this one; putting up 30 points as a d-man requires as much opportunity as it does talent. I hear the argument that "he's surrounded by players that make him look good" from everyone. Personally, I look at it completely the other way around: with so many other talented players fighting for minutes, Boudreau is STILL giving them to Carlson.

Since we're talking Calder for some reason... I hear the same thing about Couture and Skinner, but I stick with Couture every time. Who did Skinner have to beat to grab top-6 minutes... Samsonov? Sutter? Cole? Compare that with Couture; he had to beat Clowe, Pavelski and Setoguchi.

Look 1st PP minutes and it stacks up even more in Logan's favor. For logan to get the nod, one of Heatley/Thornton/Marleau has to ride pine -- probably within the top 5 toughest pp units to crack in the league. Carolina's 1st PP unit is bottom half, at best.

Keep that in mind when you think "yeah but he plays with so and so"... the coach can pick anyone to eat up top-line minutes. When a youngster gobbles them up like so many Lays Potato Chips, think about whose bag he's stealin'em from.
March 31, 2011
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Excellent Great article Jeffrey.
I learned a lot about Orlov from this. Thanks!!
March 25, 2011
Votes: -1

Dale McCarthy said:

Carlson Angus, I agree that Carlson is a Calder candidate, but the fact that he is surrounded by better players than a 45-55 point winger on a losing team speaks more of the winger's abilities.
March 25, 2011
Votes: -2

jaques oeuf said:

... Sorry duducks, I think that comment by you drops how much stock most people on the site are going to put into what YOU say. Carlson is a legit Calder candidate. Probably won't win because of the emphasis on point totals but there is no doubt that he is one of the best rookies in the league this year, playing a big role on a contending team.

March 25, 2011
Votes: +2

Jeff Angus said:

... Carlson is in my top three. Don't see what is so weird about it. 30+ points playing heavy minutes for a cup contender as a defenseman? Way more impressive than 45-55 points as a winger on a losing team.
March 25, 2011
Votes: +2

duducks said:

... "and John Carlson, a Calder Trophy candidate this season for the NHL’s best rookie."

Great article, but when you say something like that, it REALLY drops how much stock I'm going to put in what you're saying.
March 25, 2011
Votes: -5

Austin said:

... Great article as usual!

I have not had the chance to watch this guy but I still can't wait for him to hit it big time. What do you see his upside being?

Do you think he will be goal heavy? Assist heavy? Dole out the hits?
March 25, 2011
Votes: +0
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