Washington Capitals 2016 third-round draft pick, Garrett Pilon, is moving on after helping the 2022-23 Hershey Bears reach immortality.
Pilon signed a one-year, two way deal with the Ottawa Senators on the first day of free agency. The contract will pay him $775k at the NHL level and $200k in the AHL.
The Mineola, NY native is a versatile, two-way player, who can suit up on both the wing and center.
Roster update: The #Sens have agreed to terms with the following two players on respective one-year, two-way contracts:
— Sens Communications (@Media_Sens) July 1, 2023
Pilon played in three career games for the Capitals, scoring his first NHL goal on November 16, 2021 against the Anaheim Ducks.
The Capitals were likely unable to bring back Pilon due to his postseason performance and his new status as a “veteran exempt” player in the American Hockey League. In the AHL, which leans into being developmentally-focused, 13 of the 18 players dressed must qualify as developmental players or non-veteran players. One of those “development players” who suits up can be qualified as “veteran exempt,” meaning they’ve played between 260-319 professional games. At the conclusion of the 2022-23 season, Pilon had suited up in 262 professional games.
Pilon spent five seasons with the Hershey Bears and scored 10 or more goals every year except for the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season. Pilon was a physical, top-six player who received power-play time during his entire career in Chocolatetown. Off the ice, he was a character and well-liked by fans.
Pilon perhaps saved his greatest performance for last, scoring the most clutch goal of his career during the 2023 Calder Cup Finals. Pilon found the back of the net in overtime of Game Five, giving the Bears a 3-2 series lead in the championship series after falling behind 2-0 in Coachella Valley.
Ice. Cold. Peels. 🥶 pic.twitter.com/CUAsgAcmJE
— Hershey Bears (@TheHersheyBears) June 18, 2023
Pilon spent most of the season on the second line and mentored Connor McMichael when the prospect center was sent down to the AHL in November. McMichael’s two-way play noticeably grew skating with Pilon and Joe Snively.
Good luck in Ottawa, Peels!
Headline photo: Ian Oland/RMNB
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