Photo: Washington City Paper
According to the TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Washington Capitals have traded left-handed defenseman Brendan Dillon on Monday night to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for second-round picks in the 2022 and 2023 NHL Drafts.
After dealing Dillon, the Capitals have $12,918,695 remaining in salary cap space with left-wing Alex Ovechkin (pending unrestricted free agent) and goaltender Ilya Samsonov (pending restricted free agent) in need of new contracts. The trade gives them $3.9 million in salary cap relief.
The Capitals left the 30-year-old exposed in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft last week. TSN’s Darren Dreger said on Insider Trading that “I know that there are clubs that at least kicking tires” on Dillon after the roster freeze ended on Thursday.
Dillon, a LHD, played with Dylan DeMelo in San Jose.
— Scott Billeck (@ScottBilleck) July 27, 2021
After signing a four-year contract extension, Dillon tallied two goals, 19 points, and a +15 rating while averaging 18:57 per game (including 1:47 while shorthanded) in 56 games. Dillon recorded a 50.40% Corsi-for percentage, a 51.56% expected goals-for percentage, and a 51.97% expected goals-for percentage at five-on-five.
The Capitals acquired Dillon from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for the Colorado Avalanche’s 2020 second-round pick and their own 2021 third-round pick on February 18, 2020. The Jets were also in the mix for Dillon then.
Dillon recorded a goal and a -4 rating in five Stanley Cup Playoff games in the Capitals’ first-round series loss to the Boston Bruins.
After trading Dillon ($3.9M Cap Hit), the #ALLCAPS have $13.6M of Cap Space with 17 Players on the Projected Roster (11F/6D/0G).
UFA: Ovechkin, Raffl, Chara, Lundqvist, Andersonhttps://t.co/OLyyi1OrvO
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) July 27, 2021
In 654 career NHL regular-season games with the Capitals, Sharks, and Dallas Stars, Dillon has recorded 24 goals, 133 points, and a +28 rating. In 75 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, Dillon has posted a goal, 11 points, and a -14 rating.
With the trade, the Capitals may have gained some more salary-cap flexibility but lose one of their top defensemen after the team ranked 17th in the NHL with an average of 2.88 goals-against per game and fifth with an 84% penalty-killing rate. Dillon also fit into their style of being mean, big, and physical.
Dillon was born in New Westminister, British Columbia.
The Capitals now have a hole in their second-pairing on defense. Barring another trade, highly touted prospect Martin Fehervary, who recorded three goals, 17 points, and a +10 rating in 24 AHL games with the Hershey Bears last season, or Michal Kempny, who missed the 2020-21 season due to surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon underwent on October 8, 2020, would be the most likely candidates to replace Dillon. Alexander Alexeyev, who tallied eight goals, 16 points, and a +3 rating in 55 KHL games and two goals, nine points, and a +11 rating in 12 AHL games last season, could also be an option.
The Capitals will face Dillon and the Jets on Friday, December 17 at Bell MTS Place for the first time this season. Dillon will return to Capital One Arena for the first time with the Jets on Tuesday, January 18.
By Harrison Brown