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Brenden Dillon Looks to Be a Perfect Fit

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A closer look at the newest Washington Capital

NHL: New York Rangers at San Jose Sharks Cody Glenn-USA TODAY Sports

In case you missed it, Tuesday was a flurry of defensemen trades in the NHL and Capitals’ GM Brian MacLellan absolutely would not be left out. The Caps acquired Brenden Dillon from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a 2020 second round pick and a 2021 conditional third round pick. San Jose also agreed to retain 50% of Dillon’s $3.27 million AAV, which is part of what made this trade possible for cap-strapped Washington.

Dillon’s name had been swirling around the trade rumor mill since early January, so what makes him such a popular target? Let’s take a look at the 6’-4”, 225lb defenseman’s stats…

NHL Standard career statistics
Scor Scor Scor Goal Goal Goal Assi Assi Assi Shot Shot Ice
Season Age Tm GP G A PTS +/- PIM EV PP SH EV PP SH S S% ATOI BLK HIT
2011-12 21 DAL 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 0.0 19:59 3 4
2012-13 22 DAL 48 3 5 8 1 65 3 0 0 5 0 0 75 4.0 21:23 74 133
2013-14 23 DAL 80 6 11 17 9 86 4 0 2 11 0 0 97 6.2 21:06 148 165
2014-15 24 TOT 80 2 8 10 -13 77 1 0 1 7 0 1 91 2.2 19:34 139 154
2014-15 24 DAL 20 0 1 1 -2 23 0 0 0 1 0 0 16 0.0 20:37 29 27
2014-15 24 SJS 60 2 7 9 -11 54 1 0 1 6 0 1 75 2.7 19:13 110 127
2015-16 25 SJS 76 2 9 11 8 61 2 0 0 9 0 0 93 2.2 16:41 89 154
2016-17 26 SJS 81 2 8 10 -2 60 2 0 0 8 0 0 86 2.3 16:28 81 173
2017-18 27 SJS 81 5 17 22 -7 60 5 0 0 17 0 0 88 5.7 17:19 107 197
2018-19 28 SJS 82 1 21 22 19 61 0 0 1 21 0 0 71 1.4 17:45 78 201
2019-20 29 SJS 59 1 13 14 0 83 1 0 0 12 0 1 48 2.1 19:22 67 178
6 yrs SJS 439 13 75 88 7 379 11 0 2 73 0 2 461 2.8 17:40 532 1030
Career 9 yrs 588 22 92 114 15 553 18 0 4 90 0 2 655 3.4 18:32 786 1359
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/19/2020.
Source: HockeyViz
https://hockeyviz.com/fixedImg/playerOverview/1920/S.J/dillobr90/wrap
Source: HockeyViz
https://hockeyviz.com/player/dillobr90/S.J/1920

There are a few things that stand out here. Dillon is one of the most physical blueliners in the league; since 2012-13, Dillon’s first full NHL season, only four defensemen have more hits than his 1,360. His five-on-five defense is strong, limiting opposing teams’ shot threat to below league-average rates. He does average 1.52 penalties per 60 minutes, but the Caps’ penalty kill is strong and he can provide assistance on the PK when he isn’t in the box. He has never exceeded 22 points in a season, but that is also exactly what to expect from Dillon.

Overall, Brenden Dillon is a solid stay-at-home defenseman who likes to play a big, physical game. He can anchor a more offensive-minded partner (cough cough John Carlson) without weighing the pairing down. The Caps can feel confident in the fact that Dillon is comfortable hanging back a bit to be there when the action gets dicey in front of his own net. Dillon is also incredibly well-liked by players everywhere, and his laid-back presence will probably be welcome in the Caps’ locker room.

Some additional things to note:

  • He seemed genuinely excited when reacting to the trade yesterday
  • Dillon has 62 playoff games under his belt, adding even more experience to an already experienced team.
  • Dillon and Garnet Hathaway got in quite the fight two years ago, check it out:
  • Joel Ward endorsed Dillon, which is really all you need to know.

Welcome to the District of Champions, Brenden Dillon!