(UPDATE: Dillon has been dealt to the Capitals.)
With the NHL trade deadline getting close (February 24, 3 p.m. ET) the Pro Hockey Talk crew will be taking a closer look at some individual players that could be on the move. Today we focus on San Jose Sharks defensemen Brenden Dillon.
Player: Brenden Dillon
Current team: San Jose Sharks
Contract: Unrestricted free agent after this season with a $3.270 million salary cap number.
Why the Sharks might trade him. Because everything has been a mess for the Sharks this season. Everything began with Stanley Cup expectations and has instead resulted in one of the worst teams in the league that has almost no chance of making the playoffs as the trade deadline approaches. General manager Doug Wilson is not going to completely tear things down, but he is definitely going to reset some things and get rid of some potential unrestricted free agents. Dillon is at the top of that list.
Teams that could/should be interested. Florida Panthers, Vegas Golden Knights, Pittsburgh Penguins, Columbus Blue Jackets, Carolina Hurricanes, Nashville Predators
What he provides. Do not expect much — if any — offense from him. He has scored more than two goals in a season just three times, and only topped the three-goal mark two times. He is, however, a durable and steady defensive player that has been one of the most reliable defensive players in San Jose — and the entire league — over the past few years.
Since the start of the 2017-18 season there have been 280 defensemen to log at least 500 minutes of 5-on-5 ice-time. Dillon ranks among the top-50 in that group in total shot attempts against per 60 minutes, expected goals against, and scoring chances against.
So while he is not a player that is really going to do much to drive his team’s offense, he does a great job helping to make sure the other team’s offense is not generating much, either.
Carolina and Columbus have immediate needs on defense due to the recent injuries to Dougie Hamilton and Seth Jones. Those teams however might be in the market for more offensively driven players than defensive-minded player. Pittsburgh is in a similar situation with the injuries to John Marino and Brian Dumoulin, but both should be back before the playoffs. At the very least Marino will definitely be. Florida, Vegas, Nashville, and maybe even the Edmonton Oilers would seem to have a need for a player that brings Dillon’s skillset.
Predicted destination. I want to say Vegas makes sense, especially with Peter DeBoer now behind the bench there, but I don’t know that the Sharks and Golden Knights will want to willingly help each other out. Florida has a ton invested in this season and has a playoff berth within reach. They have one of the highest scoring teams in the league and a defense that can not stop anybody even though they have a ton of options and big contracts. He would be a pretty big upgrade. So let’s say the Panthers add another blue liner to the mix for a couple of draft picks in an effort to improve their play in front of Sergei Bobrovsky.