Dmitri Orlov was born on July 23, 1991in Novokuznetsk, Russia. A standout defender for Metallurg Novokuznetsk in the KHL in his native Russia, Orlov was selected in the second round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by the Washington Capitals. He represented Russia at the 2010 and 2011 World Junior Championships, winning the gold medal in 2011.
Orlov made his North American debut in the American Hockey League for the Hershey Bears during the 2010-11 season. He would appear in 19 games for the club to go along with six post-season games. The Capitals recalled Orlov from Hershey on November 20, 2011and Orlov he made his NHL debut the following night against the Phoenix Coyotes. Orlov would go on to appear in 60 games for Washington during the 2011-12 season, recording three goals and 16 assists for 19 points.