The Washington Capitals always seem to make a move before the trade deadline with the hope of a deep playoff run.
This season is no different as Washington acquired defenseman Brenden Dillon from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a pair of draft picks Tuesday afternoon.
NHL TRADE TRACKER: List of deals completed before the deadline
Dillon joins a talented blueline corps led by Norris Trophy frontrunner John Carlson and veterans Michal Kempny and Dmitry Orlov.
“Brenden is an experienced defenseman who plays a solid defensive game with a high compete level and physicality,” Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said in the team’s press release. “We felt it was important for us to add a player of his caliber to our defensive group.”
On the flip side, the Sharks are trying to maximize the value of some pending unrestricted free agents as they head towards the top of the NHL draft lottery.
Here’s how both teams did.
Capitals received from San Jose:
Defenseman Brenden Dillon
Sharks received from Washington:
Colorado’s second-round pick in 2020 and a conditional 2021 fourth-round pick and San Jose is retaining 50 percent of Dillon’s salary.
According to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, the conditional pick is based on whether Washington wins the Stanley Cup. If they win it, San Jose acquires the Arizona Coyotes’ 2020 third-round pick instead of Washington’s 2021 third-round pick.
More details on the Dillon trade: In the event Washington wins the Stanley Cup then the Caps will give San Jose Arizona’s 3rd RD pick in 2020 instead of Washington 3rd RD pick in 2021
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) February 18, 2020
Capitals grade: A
Washington, who enters Tuesday atop the Metropolitan Division, got stronger by acquiring arguably the best defenseman available on the trade market.
The Capitals parted with two draft picks, and even if they win the Stanley Cup and San Jose gets Arizona’s 2020 third-round pick, both are expected to be in the bottom half in each round.
MORE: When is the NHL trade deadline 2020? Date, time, top targets
Dillon should fit in seamlessly with Washington as he’ll likely get paired with Carlson on the top pairing. He is a perfect complement to the Norris Trophy candidate considering he’s an offensive defenseman and Dillon is a defensive defenseman.
Carlson leads the team in points (70) and assists (55) while brings his 14 points (one goal, 13 assists) to the Caps blue line.
MacLellan accomplished his goal of adding depth before the deadline without mortgaging high-end assets. The Capitals are hoping this move will help keep them in first place in the Metropolitan with the Pittsburgh Penguins breathing down their necks.
Sharks grade: B-
The San Jose Sharks are going nowhere this season. They’ve already lost Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl and Erik Karlsson to long-term injuries and enter Tuesday’s games with the sixth-worst record in the league.
For general manager Doug Wilson, the objective heading into trade season was to obtain as many assets as possible to get the wheels back on the track for 2020-21.
San Jose doesn’t have their first-round pick in this year’s draft as the Ottawa Senators obtained it as part of the Karlsson trade, so this move helps beef up their stock of draft picks in the second and third rounds. Now they have two second-round picks and potentially two third-round picks should the Capitals win the Stanley Cup this season.
However, it feels San Jose could have gotten more from the Capitals or another trade partner. Yes, Dillon is a pending unrestricted free agent but he has a relatively low AAV of $3.27 million and was considered one of the best defensemen available on the market.