Here’s the second look at the eight unrestricted free agents for the Boston Bruins and whether or not they will return to play with the Bruins in the 2023-24 regular season or beyond.
After acquiring him at the 2023 NHL trade deadline, and watching him become a key cog in their lineup can the Boston Bruins bring back defenseman Dmitry Orlov?
On Feb. 23, the Boston Bruins traded forward Craig Smith, a 2023 first-round draft pick, a 2025 second-round draft pick and a 2024 third-round draft pick in a three-team trade with the Washington Capitals and Minnesota Wild, that netted the Bruins Dmitry Orlov and winger Garnet Hathaway.
Both players instantly fit into the lineup and became instant Boston Bruins fan favorites. Orlov finished the regular season with three goals and 11 assists for the Bruins and seven goals and 29 assists in 66 regular season games. The 31-year-old, 5-foot-11, 214-pound rearguard then had eight helpers in the seven-game first round series loss to the Florida Panthers.
Orlov is coming out of a six-year, $30.6 million contract that carried a $5.1M AAV. Per AFP Analytics and Daily Faceoff, he is projected to get the third-highest contract on the 2023 unrestricted free agent market at 5 x $6.25 million. If that’s the case, the capped-strapped Boston Bruins cannot afford to bring Orlov back unless they do some serious cap-maneuvering.
With eight unrestricted free agents – including captain Patrice Bergeron and veteran center David Krejci, and three restricted free agents including goalie Jeremy Swayman and forward Trent Frederic, the Bruins will be lucky if they bring back any of their NHL trade deadline acquisitions in Orlov, Hathaway, and winger Tyler Bertuzzi.
Orlov is already on record as hinting that he would welcome a return to the Washington Capitals.
“I don’t know. We’ll see.” Orlov relied with a smile when asked about a potential return to the only other team he’s played for. “It’s tough, tough to… uhhh…Probably yeah. We’re going to talk to my agent. How I see, if they trade me, I don’t think it’ll work out, but we’ll see.”
Based on that, the Capitals may be the only team he’ll take a discount for considering his potential value on the open market. So, it’s unlikely he returns to the Boston Bruins.