Capitals re-sign defenseman Brenden Dillon to a four-year contract

“Super, super excited to come back and be a Cap, especially for the next four years, and be part of this group,” Dillon said on a Zoom call with reporters. “… I think how things ended up in the bubble for us, it wasn’t where we wanted to be, and even in the past few weeks it has been a huge motivator for me to talk to guys who are already on looking forward to coming back the next year and ultimately wanting to get something done. “

The capitals also announced that defense attorney Michal Kempny would be out six to eight months after surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon. A few hours later, the capitals ended their whirlwind night by trading in for the 22nd election in the draft, choosing the 18-year-old Hendrix Lapierre center.

Dillon’s previous contract was for five years and was $ 16.35 million, with an average annual value of $ 3.27 million. His new deal, which does not include no-trade protection, has an average annual value of $ 3.9 million. If the capitals hadn’t reached an agreement by Tuesday, the 6-foot-4,225-pounder could have tested the free agency starting Friday. General Manager Brian MacLellan told reporters on a Zoom call that the organization believed that size was needed on the blue line and that Dillon was a good fit for the team.

“I think we were as aggressive with him as we could to keep him from going into the market and seeing what’s out there,” MacLellan said.

Dillon said he was considering exploring the free hand, but the ultimate goal since joining Washington in February has been to sign an extension. He said he was more comfortable with the capital cities after their summer training camp; This unusual aspect of the unconventional end of the season allowed him to get to know the players and the organization better.

“The big thing I cared about was having a good group of people, a good chance to win, and being somewhere like Washington, where I look forward to exploring the city more and doing more things than to be a cap. Said Dillon. “I really appreciated that, just the organization and the discussions with them [MacLellan and new coach Peter Laviolette]. … If we just look up and down, there is great excitement to be a capital city of Washington now and that was just too good to pass up. “

MacLellan previously said he has spoken “fairly consistently” with Dillon’s representatives since the team took over the physical defender, and both sides liked the fit, even though Washington was tight on a flat salary cap of $ 81.5 million.

“I wanted to stay here,” said Dillon. “I wanted to commit to being here. From the city and the fan base to conversations with players on the team who have been here for a few years, I know that the caps are well represented. It’s very fortunate to have the fan base and everyone we have in Washington. I know there is a reason why being a cap is fun and it’s great to be and I look forward to it. “

In 10 regular season games for the Capitals, Dillon played mostly with Norris Trophy finalist John Carlson in the top pairing as Kempny struggled before the season was interrupted amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Kempny was not 100 percent after surgery in April 2019 because of a torn left Achilles tendon and his up and down performance continued into the postseason. Kempny has been a good scratch for the last three games of the Capitals first round against the New York Islanders.

The capitals said Kempny, 30, was injured while training in the Czech Republic. By placing him in a long-term injured reserve, the capital cities are making room for salary caps. Kempny will earn $ 2.5 million in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

“It’s super, super unfortunate,” said Dillon of Kempny’s injury. “… I know that Kemper is a guy who is very popular in the locker room and who obviously makes up a large part of the team. I think we all together, especially in the backend, need to improve our game and keep getting better. “

Dillon and Dmitry Orlov were the Capitals’ second defensive pairing in their first two games against the Islanders, with Orlov playing offside to his right. When Kempny was pulled from the line-up, Dillon returned to the top pair with Carlson in the last three games in the series. Now he’s in line to stay there.

Notes: When asked about the possibility of signing goalkeeper Henrik Lundqvist, whose contract was bought out by the New York Rangers last week, MacLellan didn’t exactly deny his team’s interest. He said the capital cities are looking for an experienced substitute goalkeeper and Lundqvist is “a really solid candidate”. … The NHL announced that it is aiming for the start of the season on January 1. The target was December 1st, but Commissioner Gary Bettman had previously made it clear that it would be a flexible date.

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