The Carolina Hurricanes entered NHL Free Agency looking to take a step. Carolina was swept out of the Eastern Conference Final by the underdog Florida Panthers. And that continued a streak of losses in the penultimate round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs that dates back to 2009.

Defenseman Dmitry Orlov entered NHL Free Agency as the top option on the open market. A successful second half of the season following a trade to the Boston Bruins opened up a few avenues for the veteran blueliner this summer.

In the end, Orlov and the Hurricanes came together on an agreement. The sides signed a two-year contract worth a total of $15.5 million. Orlov receives a $3 million signing bonus this season, and his base salary next season is set at $7.75 million.

So, how did Orlov do on this contract? Does this help the Hurricanes in their quest to finally lift Lord Stanley's Cup once again? Let's hand out grades for Dmitry Orlov and the Carolina Hurricanes for their two-year contract in NHL Free Agency.

Dmitry Orlov history

Let's take a quick look at Orlov's track record in the NHL first. The 31-year-old entered the NHL as a second-round pick of the Washington Capitals all the way back in 2009.

He made his NHL debut in 2011, playing 60 games that season. He broke out in 2016-17, scoring six goals and 33 points in 82 games. Orlov also received Norris Trophy votes for his performances.

The Capitals had some playoff demons during Orlov's time in the nation's capital. However, they overcame those demons in 2018. Washington defeated the Vegas Golden Knights to win the team's first Stanley Cup.

The Capitals went on a bit of a decline after that. And as Washington's playoff hopes this past season continued to fade, they traded Orlov to Boston. He thrived with the Bruins, scoring 17 points in 23 games to end the season. He added eight points in seven playoff games, as well.

Dmitry Orlov signs with Hurricanes

Tyler Bertuzzi received a lower grade from me due to him looking for term in a market not suited to provide it. And hey, I can't exactly fault him for wanting long-term stability. It just didn't work out for him this summer.

However, Orlov is exactly the opposite. He also wanted a long-term contract, which makes a ton of sense. However, he recognized it wasn't quite feasible this year. Instead, he takes a two-year contract and gets paid.

Many are going to scoff at that $7.75 million annual average value. And we'll get to that when we talk about this from the Hurricanes side of things. However, you cannot fault Orlov for taking the bag that was offered to him. All around, he makes out extremely well in this deal.

Hurricanes sign Dmitry Orlov

For the Hurricanes, they didn't exactly need to upgrade their defensive core. Even after losing Shayne Gostisbehere to the Detroit Red Wings in NHL Free Agency. Carolina could have decided against this move.

Instead, they sought the top defenseman on the market, and they got him. It does represent an upgrade for the Hurricanes, so it isn't like they splashed the cash and got nothing out of it.

The money certainly caused me to do a bit of a double-take. However, it's a two-year contract. Orlov's base salary in the first season is lower than his cap hit, which helps. And if it doesn't work out, Carolina could simply buy out the second season.

Make no mistake: the Carolina Hurricanes certainly overpaid to sign Dmitry Orlov. However, the risk isn't as high with this deal, in my opinion. The Hurricanes added to a strength and could reap major benefits this time next year.

Grades and final thoughts

Orlov receives high marks for reading the market and making a smart bet on himself. The NHL's salary cap should shoot up by the time he's a free agent once again. He could get a slightly longer term and more money if he continues to play at a high level.

For the Hurricanes, they do receive a high mark as well. The risk is not crazy high for them, even with the overpay. However, they did overpay for Orlov's services. That has to be factored in, and it lowers their grade as a result.

Dmitry Orlov grade: A+

Carolina Hurricanes grade: B+