Tuesday evening, Washington Capitals defenseman Brenden Dillon spoke to the media shortly after the team’s announcement of signing the 29-year-old to a four-year contract that will carry an average annual value of $3.9 million. He expressed his excitement and readiness to get back into action in Washington.
Dillon is “super, super excited to come back and be a Cap.” The Capitals acquired him from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a 2020 second-round pick and a conditional third-round pick in 2021 on February 18. He voiced his love for the fans and success since day one. Dillon also enjoys spending time with the guys at the rink.
On what made him want to come back to the nation’s capital, he said, “Guys get along so well at the rink… guys appreciate each other…I felt it was a great fit.” Dillon also added, “A lot of credit goes to [general manager Brian MacLellan] ‘BMac’…for me, I like to play a hard brand of game…We expect to win. We expect to have success.”
He praised the “well-represented” Capitals for being “made for playoff hockey”. Dillon said they were “not where we wanted to be” after the team’s first-round exit to the New York Islanders in the postseason. “..Even in the last couple weeks kind of talking with guys and them already looking forward to next year was a big motivator in me wanting to come back and ultimately get something done.” He noted that “two first-round exits isn’t gonna fly.”
“The focus has always been coming back here to Washington,” Dillon said. He felt more comfortable with the team and the system after the summer training camp. On July 14, Dillon mentioned in a post-practice interview that he bonded with teammates and had the chance to get to know them better: “I think over the last couple weeks, months, I’ve definitely gotten a lot closer with a few of the guys,” Dillon said in reference to having a chance to bond with his fellow teammates, “Bought myself an Xbox…having a couple tee times with a few of the guys during the weeks.”
Dillon did not want to test Free Agency, which opens this Friday at noon. “The big thing I held value in was having a good group of guys, a good chance to win and being somewhere like in Washington where I’m looking forward to kind of checking out the city more. [It] was just too good to pass up,” Dillon said, adding he is “continuing to get better and grow my game.”
The Capitals also announced on Tuesday evening that fellow defenseman Michal Kempny will miss 6-8 months after successfully undergoing surgery on his Achilles tendon, which would put him on track to return sometime between April and June 2021. Dillon said it is “super unfortunate”, but noted that injuries happen including freak accidents.
“I hope things go smoothly,” he said on Kempny’s recovery. He complimented the 30-year-old Czech saying he is “well-liked in the locker room and a big part of the team.” Dillon emphasized how the Capitals will need to “up our game” with Kempny’s absence.
By Della Young
— NBCSports Washington (@NBCSWashington) October 6, 2020