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Defensive defenceman who shut it down: Brenden Dillon Jets Nation year in review

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Photo credit:© Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Connor Baldwin
1 month ago
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Brenden Dillon is the 3rd Winnipeg Jets player that I’m taking a look at today. I was planning on talking about him tomorrow, but some news came up today about Dillon that made it more timely to talk about him today. If you’ve been following along with this off-season year in review series, you’ll know that I’m getting closer to completing all the players on the Jets roster. Before talking about Dillon, here’s what to expect on Thursday and Friday to wrap up this series. Tomorrow I’ll be talking about Morgan Barron and Nate Schmidt, and Friday will be David Gustafsson and then a final article on other players who had some appearances such as Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, Logan Stanley and Rasmus Kupari, so stay tuned for those coming soon.
If you haven’t seen the news announced today, according to multiple reports there is a high likeliness that the Winnipeg Jets let Brenden Dillon, an unrestricted free agent, walk into free agency this summer. I’ll get into that more in detail soon, but first let’s look at his 2023-24 season. The 33-year old defence from New Westminster, BC is an undrafted defensive defenceman who spent around 5 years with the Dallas Stars, 6 years with the San Jose Sharks and 2 years with the Washington Capitals before arriving with the Jets in 2021-22.
Dillon’s 3rd full season with the Jets was overall successful, and in 77 games he scored 8 goals and added 12 assists for 20 points. In 3 playoff games, Dillon got 3 assists before injuring his hand from a deep cut at the end of game 3. The numbers that most stand out for Dillon is his +/- at +20, ranking him 40th in the league, his penalty minutes, 92, which ranks him 17th, and finally his hits, at 213 total, ranking him also 17th. Dillon is a big, strong defence who uses his size mostly in his own zone. He was a key penalty killer throughout the season with the Jets, but sometimes had a tendency to take too many penalties himself as shown by his numbers. The Jets found success pairing Dillon with an offence-first defence partner to allow for Dillon to focus on what he does best.
Before getting into Dillon’s contract deals, it’s worth re-iterating that with the Jets he was a solid and overall consistent top 4 defence that mainly focused on shutting down the other team’s attack. He’s the kind of defence that every team looks for because he is a veteran guy who can provide leadership in the locker room and focuses on continuing the fine-tune his own skills.
In 2020, Dillon signed a 4 year 15.6 million dollar deal with the Capitals. In the summer of 2021, the Jets acquired Dillon from the Capitals for a 2022 and 2023 2nd round pick. Now in 2024, we know that these picks were Seamus Casey and Carson Rehkopf, who are both very solid prospects at the moment. That being said, it’s the final year at 3.9 million a year for Dillon before he hits the free agency market at age 33. Unfortunately, from the news today, it looks like the Jets are expected to let Dillon go to free agency without re-signing him.
It’ll be a tough loss for the Jets, who really seemed to have deployed Dillon the right way in their defensive-style lineup. According to reports from today, Dillon hasn’t had any extension talks with the Jets this season, so the likelihood of any chance of re-signing him now is pretty slim to none. The competition for Dillon’s next team will be intriguing, as the 33-year old still seems to have lots in the tank and could really help a contending team next season. His next contract will likely be in the 2-3 year range, and he will probably be getting paid north of 5 million next year depending on which teams are interested in adding Dillon to their roster.
There isn’t really too much else to say about Dillon now that we know it’s very likely that he’s headed to another team next season. If I were writing this a few days ago, I probably would have said that he would be up their in the Jets priority list alongside another key defenceman, Dillon DeMelo, but it appears that one of the Jets off-season questions has been answered. Regardless of what happens, you have to respect Dillon’s efforts in his 3 seasons with the Jets, and it’ll be very interesting to see what happens next for Dillon’s career in the 2024-25 season.

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