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Can Dmitry Orlov eclipse 40 points?

Can Dmitry Orlov eclipse 40 points?
Published On: Wed, Aug 08
Apr 16, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov (9) clears the puck from Philadelphia Flyers center Chris VandeVelde (76) in the second period in game two of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Orlova€™s goal every year should be producing 40 or more points.

Two seasons ago, the Russian defenseman established a career-high for assists with 27 and ended up with 33 points. Last season, Orlov scored a career-best 10 goals and finished with 31 points.

Orlova€™s goal output, in fact, made him just the fifth Caps defenseman since 2000 to hit double digits, joining Mike Green, Sergei Gonchar, John Carlson and Dennis Wideman.

What does that tell us? It tells us that 12 goals and 28 assists in 2018-19 shouldna€™t be too much of a stretch for Orly.

The area where I could see Orlov making the biggest jump next season is in the goal department.

He possesses a blisteringly hard shot. And, last winter, two things became apparent to me: No. 1, Orlov had started shooting to score rather than just put the puck on net and No. 2, he was beginning to do a much better job of walking the blue line, finding open lanes and delivering that big shot on net with more accuracy. Consider: he mustered 125 shots on goal each of the last two seasons but last season saw his goal total jump from six to double digits for the first time.

At 27-years old, Orlov still has a lot of runway in front of him. I think hea€™s going to continue to improve at both ends of the rink, particularly in the D-zone, where NHL defensemen often hit their prime around his age.

Ia€™m a little less bullish on Orlova€™s offensive upside for one reason: I think hea€™d need to skate on the first unit power play to really increase his goal and assist totals. And the point job, of course, is locked down by Carlson, and rightfully so.

The bottom line: I could see Orlov, who hasna€™t missed a game in three-plus seasons, hitting 40 points. But Ia€™m having a tough time seeing him amass much more without a bigger role on the PP. Last season, for example, Carlson racked up 32 points with the man advantage, while Orlov had four.

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