As reported here at Boston Hockey Now for over a month, Boston Bruins defenseman Dmitry Orlov is likely headed to the unrestricted free agent market on Saturday.
Speaking to the media in Nashville on Tuesday, Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney confirmed that it’s ‘unlikely’ the Bruins will be able to sign defenseman Dmitry Orlov.
Dmitry Orlov is unlikely to be re-signed, per Don Sweeney.
— Fluto Shinzawa (@FlutoShinzawa) June 27, 2023
The Boston Bruins cleared $6 million off their salary cap hit by trading Taylor Hall on Monday, and per PuckPedia, they now have $10.9M in projected cap space with 14 players on the roster (6F/7D/1G).
After the trade, #NHLBruins have $10.9M Projected Cap space with 14 players on the roster (6F/7D/1G).
Includes $4.5M bonus overage cap hit
RFA: Frederic, Lauko, Mitchell, Swayman
UFA: Bergerson, Krejci, Bertuzzi, Nosek, Hathaway, Orlov, Cliftonhttps://t.co/ois3aj5k2i
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) June 26, 2023
In what can only be described as a thin NHL free agent market this summer, the 31-year-old Russian rearguard has become one of the most sought-after players headed to market. That only increased when, on June 2, Orlov flat-out told the Russian publication Sport-Express that he was excited to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his NHL career.
Per Google Translation, this was Orlov to Sport-Express on June 2:
“This hasn’t happened to me. I won’t say that it’s scary, but I look forward to when the market opens, negotiations begin. However, nothing is happening right now. Until July 1, I belong to Boston, so until that time, I can only sign a new contract with them. But in a month everything will change. Of course, I would like a long contract. It gives stability and peace of mind. But there are many nuances. You can’t take everything into account.”
Credit to ProHockeyRumors.com for finding this interview with the Boston Bruins defenseman.
As expected, the NHL betting odds that Orlov returns to the Bruins appear to be slim.
This report out of Russia on Orlov’s intentions heading into his first chance at NHL free agency comes on the heels of a report that indicated the Boston Bruins would rather sign the 31-year-old defenseman and trade 29-year-old rearguard Hampus Lindholm to do so.
Shortly after that story broke, 98.5 The Sports Hub producer James Stewart reported that Boston Bruins winger and potential unrestricted free agent winger Tyler Bertuzzi is looking for $7 million per season if he hits the NHL free agent market. Stewart also said that one of the ways the Boston Bruins were trying to find the salary cap space to bring Bertuzzi and Dmitry Orlov back on long-term deals is to shop defenseman 29-year-old defenseman Hampus Lindholm who is entering the second year of an eight-year, $52 million contract that carries a $6.5 million cap hit.
“The Bruins are quote “obsessed” with Orlov to the point where they like Orlov more than Lindholm. The Bruins might have buyer’s remorse with Lindholm, and he’s available in a trade,” Stewart went on.
Boston Hockey Now poked around on that, and while one former NHL Executive source said he had heard the same thing, two current NHL executive sources said they did not know about Lindholm being available, with one joking:
“If he is, I hope Donny [Bruins general manager Don Sweeney] calls me!”
That Orlov report out of Russia and Sweeney’s statement on Tuesday makes that Lindholm NHL trade rumor even more unlikely.
If I were an NHL betting man, I’d say Orlov is as good as gone.