Homegrown DefensemenPosted on January 14, 2013 by Mike Vogel
Caps defenseman Dmitry Orlov was a second-round pick (55th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Recalled from AHL Hershey in late November of his first full professional season in North America, Orlov has been solid throughout his 17-game stint in the NHL to date. Orlov made his NHL debut on Nov. 21 against the Phoenix Coyotes, skating 11:56 that night. That figure remains as his lowest ice time total for a single game this season. Orlov has yet to crack the 20-minute mark in any game, but has nudged above 19 minutes twice. He has not been a healthy scratch at all as of yet, and has seen a bit of special teams time in his 17 games. Orlov logs an average of 1:05 in power play ice time per night and 22 seconds of shorthanded duty. Through 17 games, Orlov has five assists and two penalty minutes, and is a minus-1. Orlov’s numbers – in an admittedly small sample size – compare favorably to those of the four first-round, homegrown Washington defensemen currently on the roster. Have a look: Mike Green in 2005-06: Green was recalled from AHL Hershey five times before he got into his 17th game. Seventeen games into his NHL career, Green had a goal and no assists for a single point. He had 14 penalty minutes and was a minus-7. Green skated an average of 2:18 a night on the power play and 43 seconds per game on the penalty kill in his 22 games of work that season. It should be noted that NHL games in 2005-06 had far more power plays as it was the first season in which the league’s new obstruction rules were implemented. Many players who played regularly or semi-regularly on special teams that season logged more ice time per night in those roles than they have since. Jeff Schultz in 2006-07: Schultz was called up four times before he got into his 17th game. At the 17-game mark, he had no goals and two assists for two points. He also had eight penalty minutes and was a plus-4. Schultz skated 3:13 a night on the penalty kill, third among the team’s defensemen behind fellow first-rounders Shaone Morrisonn and Steve Eminger. Schultz averaged 11 seconds a night in power play ice time. Karl Alzner in 2008-09: Alzner’s first 17 games came in a single stretch without him being sent back down to Hershey, though he was sent down and recalled after that 17-game mark in 2008-09 and was pulled back and forth several times the following season. He did miss one game with a hand injury during those first 17 contests. Alzner had a goal and three assists for four points in his first 17 NHL games. He did not take any penalties in those games and was a plus-6. During his 30-game NHL baptism that season, Alzner averaged 3:07 in shorthanded ice time per game, third among the team’s defensemen behind Tom Poti and Schultz. Alzner skated just 13 seconds per game on the power play. John Carlson in 2009-10: Carlson was recalled five separate times from Hershey before he skated in his 17th game. Like Green, Carlson’s rookie campaign consisted of 22 regular season games. Carlson totaled no goals and four assists for four points in his first 17 games. He accrued six penalty minutes and was plus-11. Carlson averaged a mere 18 seconds per game in shorthanded ice time and just three seconds per tilt in power play ice time. Overall, Orlov is averaging 16:34 per night in ice time. Green logged an average of 14:54 in his 22-game baptism in 2005-06. Schultz skated 18:12 per night in his 38-game trial in 2006-07. Alzner logged an average of 19:25 during his 30 games in his rookie season of 2008-09 and Carlson averaged 15:15 in his 22 games in 2009-10. Like Orlov, Green, Schultz and Alzner were all 20 years of age at the time of their NHL debuts. Carlson was 19.
Tonight’s Caps-Sabres tilt features two teams that were strong early in the season but that have struggled to find consistency for the last couple of months. Both teams are south of the proverbial Mason-Dixon line as the game gets underway, but the two clubs are separated by a single standings