The 31-year-old — who plays a strong two-way game that combines offensive production and physical defending — was widely considered to be the best defenceman, or even best player, available on the market.
The rich are getting richer with this deal as the Hurricanes already boasted a stellar blueline including Jaccob Slavin, Brent Burns, Brady Skjei, and Brett Pesce. Pesce has been at the centre of a number of trade rumors in recent days, and this move may affect his status with Carolina.
Following this deal the Hurricanes have $7.323 million in cap space to continue upgrading their roster.
Because of Orlov's status as the top defenceman available, the fact that he signed a two-year contract — even for a healthy AAV — is something of a surprise. However, a number of players capable of landing long-term commitments have opted for short deals this offseason.
The reasoning for that seems to be the projected growth of the salary cap. In two years Orlov will be able to hit the market again when the cap is likely to be approximately $8.5 million larger than it is today.
A complicating factor for Orlov could be his age. If he declines at all over the next two years, teams may be reluctant to give him a massive deal at 33. He was in a strong position to get some long-term security at age 31 coming off a strong season.
That means that Orlov is betting on himself with this contract, and a Hurricanes team able to accommodate a significant AAV appears to be the beneficiary of that strategy.