The 2nd place Washington Capitals decided to make a move yesterday that they believe puts them over the top, as GM Brian MacLellan dealt a 2020 2nd round pick (from the Avalanche in the Andre Burakovsky trade), and a 2021 conditional 3rd round pick San Jose for defenseman Brenden Dillon. The 2021 3rd becomes a 2020 3rd should the Washington Capitals win the 2020 Stanley Cup. Washington has a 4-6 record in their last 10 games, which could be the reason why MacLellan decided to make this deal now as opposed to on Monday. Despite the minor slump, the Capitals are still 37-17-5, and trail the division-leading Pittsburgh Penguins by a single point, despite Pittsburgh having a game in hand.
Brenden Dillon was one of the Sharks’ best assets, as he is a 29-year-old, left-shot defenseman making a tad under $3.5 million this season. He is coming off his highest career AB performance of -0.49 last season since 2013-14, which is his only positive season to date. His career AB score is respectable for a defenseman at -2.74. This year, however, he is struggling mightily on the penalty front. He is 2nd behind Evander Kane for the most penalties taken on the Sharks this season with 21, however, Kane has drawn 5 more penalties than Dillon. For a defenseman, Dillon’s takeaway/giveaway ratio is solid at 12/22, which is even more impressive given the fact that he plays over 19 minutes per game. The fact that he is an even 0 +/- wise on this team is another impressive statistic, given that Erik Karlsson is -15, and Brent Burns is -21. It is also interesting that Dillon leads all Sharks players this year with 178 hits, which is about 40 more than the 2nd highest player, Barclay Goodrow.
This trade leaves Washington without a 2nd round pick in the upcoming draft, as they traded their own pick to Detroit on February 22nd of last year to get defenseman Nick Jensen. They do however have Arizona’s 3rd round pick this year (also from the Burakovsky trade) but may have to send it to the Sharks as part of this trade if they do win the Stanley Cup. Dillon will bring depth to the Capitals defense group, and we could see him maybe on Washington’s Top pair with Norris trophy candidate John Carlson. Following this trade, the Capitals only have 231k in cap space, signaling they could perhaps be done making deals this deadline season unless it involves minor league assets. Their only two pending unrestricted free agents are Dillon, and defenseman Radko Gudas, who doesn’t appear to be in any trade rumors. We will see how this move affects the remainder of the Capitals season, as they have a critical game in DC on Sunday afternoon quickly approaching against their divisional rival, Pittsburgh Penguins. More to come.