By Ian Oland
Brian MacLellan confirmed during a video conference call with reporters on Friday that the Washington Capitals are looking to re-sign trade-deadline acquisition Brenden Dillon.
Dillon, who is currently skating on the second pairing with Dmitry Orlov, quickly assimilated with the team during 10 regular-season games.
“I talked to his representatives pretty consistently since we’ve gotten him,” MacLellan said. “We’ll continue to talk and see if we can work something out at the end here.”
Dillon first revealed that Mac and his agency were talking during a July 14 interview with reporters.
“I think right from getting here we’ve had mutual talks amongst my agent and Brian (MacLellan) – those things are kind of confidential with them,” Dillon said. “Again for me as a player and being part of the Caps, it’s been awesome and hopefully, I can be here.”
He added, “I’m happy with being a Washington Capital from Day 1 when I came here with the trade. They made me feel right at home. I think the system, the way we play from the D-corps on, I feel a big part of things here. I feel even better now and I think myself now, to have a couple weeks of a training camp to get even more acclimated and kind of understanding things, I think it’s going to pay huge dividends.”
Recently, Dillon also congratulated the Seattle Kraken on their new name and potentially indicated he planned on re-signing with Washington. “Best of luck except for when they’re playing us @Capitals of course 😏,” Dillon wrote. The Kraken won’t play their first game in the NHL until the 2021-22 season.
Playing 4 years of Junior in such an amazing city, it’s long overdue but really exciting to see @NHLSeattle_ made a reality! Best of luck except for when they’re playing us @Capitals of course 😏 Everyone will find out soon enough that Seattle is a Hockey Town! pic.twitter.com/IW95gryOLd
— Brenden Dillon (@BDillon04) July 23, 2020
Dillon is coming off a five-year, $16.35 million contract he originally signed with the San Jose Sharks in 2015. At age 29 and in the prime of his distinguished career, Dillon will likely command a raise higher than his annual cap hit of $3.27 million.
MacLellan lamented that there will be some challenges and hard decisions coming at the end of the year. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NHL salary cap is remaining flat.
“We’re waiting until after playoffs to see how everything pans out here,” MacLellan said when asked if the team would announce any signings during the playoffs. “I think it’s constantly been changing all year. I don’t think anybody could have predicted where we’re at right now. I think we’re going to wait and assess where we’re at, at the end of the year, and make decisions then.
“It’s difficult. We’ve been a (top of the) cap team,” MacLellan added. “We did our projections last season and it was going to be anywhere from $83 to $88 million and it comes in at $81.5. Even last season, it came in a little under where we projected it to be. You have to make some difficult decisions based on that. Planning going up on those projections is based on probably the low end of the projection and it comes in lower. It’s a hard thing to manage. We’ll do the best we can.”
Capitals starter Braden Holtby is an unrestricted free agent along with Dillon, Ilya Kovalchuk, and Radko Gudas.
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