The Washington Capitals are facing a salary-cap crunch this offseason. The team has six roster spots to fill and only $8.9 million to work with according to Cap Friendly and are already resigned to likely losing Braden Holtby.
One of the Capitals’ top targets this offseason is retaining trade deadline acquisition Brenden Dillon. The defenseman is coming off a five-year, $16.35 million deal ($3.27M AAV) he originally signed with the San Jose Sharks in June 2015.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman is reporting that the Capitals are willing to go to great lengths to keep Dillon on the team.
Washington is trying to move money to keep Brenden Dillon.
Any money moved could also help the Capitals re-sign Alex Ovechkin who is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2020-21 season. The two sides are expected to begin negotiating during training camp.
Dillon only played ten regular-season games in a Caps uniform, but during that time Dillon quickly became a fan favorite with his physical play and personality.
Also, his dancing.
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According to Peter’s season review on Dillon, the defenseman spent most of his time with Norris Trophy finalist John Carlson and seemed to be only a modest improvement for his partner: underwater in goals, but in the black on shot attempts, and fairly dominant in expected goals. Dillon slowed the pace of games and took a lot of penalties too.
According to Evolving Hockey, Dillon, who turns 30 in mid-November, provides a similar value as Jonas Siegenthaler – a restricted free agent this fall. In the below graph, the two players are compared by Z-Score, which shows how a player has performed relative to all other players at the same position over a selected timeframe.
Dillon first revealed that Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan and his agency were talking about a contract extension 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.”
“I talked to his representatives pretty consistently since we’ve gotten him,” MacLellan added on July 31. “We’ll continue to talk and see if we can work something out at the end here.”
Part of the difficulty of bringing Dillon back will be the NHL’s flat salary cap, which will remain at $81.5 million next season due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The cap will not go up in future years until total revenue reaches $4.8 billion.
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