With training camp set to begin in about three weeks, the Capitals and restricted free agent Dmitry Orlov still have not agreed on contract extension.
But it also sounds as though it’s a matter of when, not if, a deal gets done, based on comments from Coach Barry Trotz on Monday.
“I think, obviously, [GM Brian MacLellan] is talking with Orlov’s agent all the time,” Trotz said at KCI. “Orly has got a great opportunity here.”
Trotz also reiterated that he sees big things for Orlov in 2016-17, perhaps even a steady spot in the top-4.
“I envision him playing with a [Matt] Niskanen or a [John] Carlson, probably more prime minutes as we try even out our defense a little bit in terms of [workload],” Trotz added. “It’s a great opportunity for him. He’s at the right age where he can really contribute. We’ll look for his contributions on the power play, the penalty kill, playing in that top-4 on a pretty regular basis. I just think it’s right for him.”
So what’s the holdup?
“It’s probably just timing, dollars, length,” Trotz said. “He’s right where he wants to be in his career, where he’s an up-and-coming player who is going to get a great opportunity here with a good team.”
Orlov, 25, earned $2.25 million last season while counting $2 million against the salary cap. The Capitals have $3.45 million in cap space available but cannot commit all of that to Orlov, a young player with big upside but an unproven track record.
Trotz said he intends to seek out Orlov soon. The two will cross paths next month when Team Canada faces Russia in a pre-tournament game in Pittsburgh.
“He’s playing at the World Cup [and] that level will be very, very high,” Trotz said. “I think it’s great experience for him. I think it will make him better and it will make us better.”
Capitals associate coach Todd Reirden, who oversees the defensemen in Washington, echoed Trotz’s sentiments about Orlov’s ceiling.
“I think we’re just touching the surface with this player,” Reirden said. “Him going through the World Cup experience will be outstanding for him, as well. …I’ve been in contact with him a few times this summer, just getting him in a really good spot mentally to come in and have a huge year for us. I think his opportunity is in his hands.”
Reirden said finding the right partner for Orlov will be critical. He also said eliminating the game-altering mistake—at exactly the wrong moment—figures to rank among Orlov’s top priorities.
“In terms of areas of improvement for him, it’s still eliminating the big errors in his game at crucial times,” Reirden said. "We need to continue to force him to make the right decisions at the right times. In terms of his risk-reward, he does really have the ability to swing a game offensively for us.”
Orlov had a career-high eight goals and 29 points in 82 games last season.
MORE CAPITALS: ALEX OVECHKIN TIES THE KNOT
The Redskins have let go of two high-priced veterans as they move towards reducing their roster to 75 by today’s 4 p.m. deadline, according to multiple reports.
Released were linebacker Perry Riley, who was drafted in the fourth round in 2010 and had been a starter since midway through the 2011 season, and defensive lineman Stephen Paea, signed as a free agent in 2015. CSNmidatlantic.com was able to confirm Paea and Riley took to Twitter to announce his own release.
Paea signed a four-year, $21 million contract last year. He was expected to step in and become a starter and a force on the defensive line right away. But he struggled and spent the last part of the season on injured reserve.
This year Paea was relatively healthy but he found himself down near the bottom of the depth chart and he never was able to climb back up. He was schedule to make a $3.3 million salary. His release saves the Redskins a net of $3.4 million this year but they will face a $2.5 million dead cap hit in 2017.
Riley wasn’t able to beat out Mason Foster for the starting job this year and apparently the team figured that his $4 million salary was too much for a backup.
Riley’s release saves the team $4 million against the cap with about $1.6 million in dead cap.
MORE REDSKINS: A compressed learning schedule for Redskins' Sudfeld
A small but significant part of the long-term commitment between the Wizards and Bradley Beal hinges on his ability to create offense when his shot isn't going in.
Beal may have had stress reactions in his lower right leg in each of his four seasons, but they’ve never progressed to fractures or required surgeries. When he is on the court and fully healthy, he still goes through long stretches without trips to the foul line
Beal has never averaged 20 points a game or more. If he can consistently get to the stripe more often, he can raise his average 22-24 range. That puts him along with an elite category of scorers.
When comparing Beal to better scorers at his position, such as James Harden (Rockets) and DeMar DeRozan (Raptors), it’s easy to see how striking the differences are when it comes to free throws.
The dividing line is attempting at least seven foul shots in a game with the number of games with double figure free throw attempts over an 82-game regular season in parentheses. Next to that is number of games played with 0 foul shot attempts:
Beal Harden DeRozan
2012-13: 5 times (1); 16 62 times (42); 1 29 times (9); 6
2013-14: 2 times (1); 19 50 times (32); 0 50 times (27); 0
2014-15: 5 times (2); 19 55 times (40); 1 *33 times (19); 0
2015-16: 4 times (0); 9 65 times (44); 0 52 times (24); 0
Totals: 16 times (4); 63 232 times (158); 2 164 times (79); 9
*Missed 22 games
When DeRozan shot seven or more foul shots this most, he averaged a career-high 23.5 points per game. Harden’s best scoring season was this year (29 ppg), too, which not coincidentally was when he got to the foul line the most. The least he has average in the last four seasons is 25.4.
Both players get to the rim, initiate contact to get whistles and are good at selling that contact. This is the next level for Beal, who has a contract worth $128 million pushing him to get there.