Caps trade Orlov and Hathaway to Boston for Craig Smith and three draft picks

The Washington Capitals have traded defenseman Dmitry Orlov and forward Garnet Hathaway to the Boston Bruins. The Caps in return will receive center Craig Smith, a 2023 first round pick, a 2025 second round pick and a 2024 third round pick.

The Capitals have not done much selling during the Alex Ovechkin era but Orlov had an expiring deal and were far off on trade talks. Orlov could always come back to the Capitals in the offseason.

Orlov has been the Capitals best overall defenseman this season and in recent years and has stayed healthier than John Carlson. Orlov will be a big loss to the Capitals.

Hathaway is an energy guy who still produces points. Hathaway has been a big part of the Capitals fourth line and penalty kill.

Here is the Capitals press release.

Following a 2-1 win over the Bruins in Boston on Feb. 11 in their first game after the NHL’s All-Star break, the Caps were sitting in seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings and appeared to be a team that would lean in the direction of “buying” ahead of the NHL’s trade deadline. Washington’s win that Saturday afternoon in Boston was only the second regulation loss in the Bruins’ first 27 games (22-2-3) at home this season.
But heading home to play six of their next seven games hasn’t agreed with the Capitals, who have lost five straight games in regulation for the first time in just over nine years. That skid has dropped them from seventh to 11th in the Eastern Conference standings, and today the Caps acknowledged that tumble in making a big multi-player deal with the Bruins.
Washington sends defenseman Dmitry Orlov and right wing Garnet Hathaway – both of whom are 31 years old – to Boston in exchange for veteran forward Craig Smith, the Bruins’ first-round draft choice in 2023, their second-round pick in 2025, and Boston’s third-rounder from the 2024 Draft.
Orlov’s departure leaves the Caps without another vaunted member of their 2018 Stanley Cup championship team. Drafted in the second round (55th overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft, Orlov had been (along with Alex OvechkinNicklas Backstrom and John Carlson) one of only four players remaining from the Bruce Boudreau administration, which spanned 2007-11. In his last game with the Caps, Orlov moved past Kevin Hatcher (685) for fourth-most games played by a defenseman in franchise history.
Orlov totaled 60 goals and 196 assists for 256 points in his 686 games in a Washington sweater. His career plus/minus mark of plus-104 ranks second only to Rod Langway (plus-115) among all players in franchise history.
Hathaway was in the midst of his fourth season with Washington, and he had made himself a fixture on the team’s fourth line and on its penalty killing unit. In 257 games with the Caps, Hathaway totaled 38 goals and 38 assists for 76 points. He was a plus-38 with 254 PIM during his time in the District.
The 33-year-old Smith was originally a fourth-round pick (98th overall) of the Nashville Predators in the 2009 Draft. In 831 career games over a dozen seasons with the Preds and the Bruins, Smith has totaled 195 goals and 213 assists for 408 points. He has had five NHL seasons with 20 or more goals, most recently the 2018-19 season when he netted 21 goals with Nashville.
All three of the players in the deal are impending unrestricted free agents as of July 1, and the Caps are retaining the maximum 50 percent of Orlov’s salary cap hit of $5.1 million.
The deal puts Washington firmly in the “seller” side of the ledger, eight days ahead of the NHL’s March 3 trade deadline. This marks the first time since 2007 that the Capitals have been a seller at the deadline; they’ve made the playoffs in 14 of the last 15 seasons and each of the last eight. And although they remain mathematically alive in the chase for playoff positioning in 2023, today’s trade signifies the organization’s understanding of just how difficult it will be to climb back into the top eight slots in the East with 23 games remaining and the team as currently constituted.
For each of their last 141 regular season games – from opening night of the 2021-22 season up to tonight’s game against Anaheim – the Caps have been playing without a full deck of cards. Over that span, they’ve been missing one or more – and typically leaning harder toward “more” – players from their lineup.
That situation became more acute this season when they lost the services of right wing Connor Brown for the remainder of the season in just the fourth game of the campaign. Later in the month of October, the Caps also lost defenseman John Carlson and right wing T.J. Oshie for extended stretches, and Washington was able to win only seven of its first 20 games (7-10-3) while icing a patchwork lineup on a night-to-night basis.
After getting Carlson and Oshie back in their lineup, the Caps went on a second-quarter spree, going 15-3-3 in their next 21 games leading up to the midpoint of the campaign. That hot streak vaulted the Caps back into the playoff picture, but they lost Carlson and Oshie again in the process, with the former being lost for a lengthy and indeterminate period of time after catching a slapshot to his head in a Dec. 23 game against Winnipeg.
Washington is 18-10-2 with Carlson in its lineup this season, and it is 10-15-4 when he is out. The Caps have a plus-17 goal differential with him in the lineup as compared to minus-13 without him, in a similar number of games.
The 2023 NHL Draft is seen as one of the deeper groups in recent years, and the Caps are now poised to have multiple picks in the first round of the draft for the first time since 2012.
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Brian Hradsky

The owner of MSB, I created this website while in college and it has never died.

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