Los Angeles Kings: Defensive free agent target, Brenden Dillon

What would the Los Angeles Kings be getting in LHD free agent Brenden Dillon?

Los Angeles Kings fans should be somewhat familiar with Brenden Dillon from his time with the San Jose Sharks. The Surrey, BC native began his professional career with the Dallas Stars, signing a three-year entry-level contract in March 2011. He played in a league-high 48 games during the lockout-shortened 2012-2013 season, tallying three goals and five assists in the process.

Dillon finished tenth in Calder Trophy voting that year, and while he’s not a big-time goal scorer, he makes up for it in other aspects of his game. During the 2018-2019 season, with the Sharks, Dillon tallied a goal and a career-best 21 assists while also registering a 7.7 goals-above-replacement (GAR).

At 6-4, 225 pounds, he’s a big, physical presence, almost to a fault, as Dillon has regularly topped the leaderboards in hits and penalty minutes, including a career-high 104 minutes this past season. General Manager Rob Blake will have to be cautious of the 29-year-old because while he’s had several big hits throughout his career, many of them have been questionable where elbows were thrown and his feet left the ice.

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Speaking of this past season, Dillon was traded to the Capitals to finish out the regular season, so we’ll be able to evaluate him in the 24-team playoff further.

One of the elements of Dillon’s game that I like is that he’s an excellent shot blocker. Regularly near the top of the category, it’s an underrated aspect that prevents the opposition from scoring. With the loss of Alec Martinez, who accounted for 85 blocked shots last year, the Kings would essentially be replacing his production in that department, as Dillon has consistently been a 70+ blocked shots per year player.

In San Jose, Dillon was primarily paired with Brent Burns, an offensive-minded defenseman, which worked out quite well for the Sharks. With the Kings, he could potentially be paired with Matt Roy, who tallied four goals and 14 assists in his first full NHL season this past season.

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He’s not a guy that’s going to take the puck away himself, but jarring a big hit on an opposing player creates turnovers for other players. Dillon also doesn’t give the puck away all that often, which is so critical in your own zone.

Related Story: Defensive free agent target, Jon Merrill

The catch will be his projected contract. Per Evolving Hockey, he’s projected to fetch a four-year deal at a $3.7M AAV, so he’d be a longer commitment than the previous UFA defenseman we’ve discussed, who would be stopgaps until members from the prospect pool are ready.

What do we think about Dillon?