Capitals land Brenden Dillon in trade with Sharks

The onslaught of pre-deadline deals continues in the NHL. The Washington Capitals and San Jose Sharks are the latest to jump in on the early activity, as the two teams reached an agreement on Tuesday tol send defenseman Brenden Dillon to Washington.

The Sharks agreed to trade Dillon to the Capitals in exchange for a second-round pick in 2020 and a conditional third-round pick in 2021. The second-round pick originally belonged to the Colorado Avalanche, who dealt the selection to the Capitals last summer in the trade that brought Andre Burakovsky to Colorado. On the condition that the Caps win the Stanley Cup this season, the third-round pick in 2021 will become a third-round pick in 2020 (which originally belonged to Arizona).

As part of the deal, the Sharks will retain half of Dillon’s $3.27 million cap hit this season. The defenseman is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.

With the addition, the Capitals add a solid player and veteran presence as insurance on their blue line. Dillon doesn’t have much offensive upside (one goal and 13 assists in 59 games played this season) but he’s a strong, physical player who ranked second among Sharks defensemen with a 51.7 percent shot attempt share at 5-on-5 this season. He also ranked first on the Sharks in hits (178) and fourth in blocked shots (67). 

The Capitals remain atop the Metropolitan division in the Eastern Conference but they’ve seen a slide lately, winning just four of their last 10 games. A big reason for that dip in success has been their struggles on the defensive end. They’ve spent too much time in their own end and have given up too many quality chances. Since the start of February, the Caps have been outscored at 12-20 at 5-on-5. 

The hope is that the addition of Dillon will help solidify that back end for the stretch run and help Washington hold off the surging Penguins, who made a pre-deadline splash of their own with the acquisition of Jason Zucker.

The Caps currently hold a one-point lead over Pittsburgh in the Metro but Pittsburgh has two games in-hand.

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