Dillon enters the Jets lineup immediately as one of their better and most experienced defensemen. A veteran of over 650 NHL contests, Dillon arrives in Winnipeg via Washington, who signed him to a deal with a $3.9MM cap hit at two years remaining. With this trade, it appears that Winnipeg may finally be getting Josh Morrissey some relief on the back-end. Dillon has experience playing 19 to 20 minutes a night and could play on either the top or second pairing in Manitoba. If it’s any help to Morrissey, it’ll be appreciated. Since Morrissey’s been entrusted with added responsibility after the departure of Dustin Byfuglien, his defensive play has really struggled. Some additional defensive help and some easier matchups may make Morrissey a more effective asset. Regardless of that, they’re still getting an excellent defensive defenseman in Dillon, who’s done well against good, but not great competition over the past few seasons.
It does raise one question, as there’s now just one spot remaining on Winnipeg’s left side. Which one of Ville Heinola or Logan Stanley won’t be cracking next year’s lineup, and could there be an additional deal that moves one of them out? It’s a good problem to have for the Jets, who now look in much better shape defensively than last season.
For Washington, the clearing of Dillon’s $3.9MM cap hit is crucial to their success this offseason. With captain Alex Ovechkin likely commanding a double-digit deal, questions about Washington’s ability to continue to build a contender have loomed large due to the flat salary cap. With Dillon’s departure, it opens the door for Michal Kempny to reclaim a spot in the lineup after he missed the entirety of 2020-21 with injury. If Kempny is at 100%, he’s shown the ability to be a capable top-four defenseman in the past and could be the perfect in-house replacement for Dillon.
All salary cap figures courtesy of CapFriendly