Washington Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov, center, celebrates his first-period goal against the Philadelphia Flyers on March 2. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

The Capitals re-signed defenseman Dmitry Orlov to a two-year, $4-million deal, preventing him from becoming a restricted free agent after the season, the team announced Thursday.

Orlov, 22, will make $1.75 million in 2014-15 and $2.25 million in 2015-16, and is now assured of being part of the team’s defensive core going forward. In 38 games this season, Orlov has three goals, six assists and 19 penalty minutes. Orlov has been paired with Mike Green, formerly the Capitals’ top defenseman, for much of the season as Washington’s second tandem behind John Carlson and Karl Alzner.

Orlov’s most significant moment, however, came March 2 against Philadelphia. With Washington up 4-2 in the third period, Orlov took a five-minute major penalty. The Flyers scored on the ensuing power play, and eventually won 5-4 in overtime.

The move leaves the Capitals with three unrestricted free agents at the end of the season: center Mikhail Grabovski and newly acquired forward Dustin Penner and goalie Jaroslav Halak.