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2015-16 Sharks Season in Review: Brenden Dillon

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Brenden Dillon’s first full season in teal was arguably the worst of his career.

2016 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Four Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Brenden Dillon struggled in his first full season in teal. Despite starting nearly 55% of his shifts in the offensive zone, Dillon was a negative possession player relative to his team for just the second time in his career. Just how bad was it? To the charts! (stick tap to Corsica Hockey)

On these charts, a strong possession player would, ideally, have blue and green circles above each red circle, meaning that their teammate is better with them than without them. As you can see, that is not the case for Brendan Dillon and the vast majority of players he played with, including Roman Polak.

Dillon’s struggles were amplified alongside Polak in the postseason, as the pair posted a -5.19 CF% and -3.38 FF% in the postseason. Beyond the statistics, the pair failed the eye test as well, especially against Pittsburgh as they struggled to break out of their own zone, or generate anything offensively when they were able to enter Pittsburgh’s end.

Although the David Schlemko acquisition will help the Sharks and could even help Dillon if the pair plays together next season, Dillon is a huge question mark on the Sharks’ blueline.If Dylan DeMelo continues to improve, and David Schlemko remains a positive impact on puck possession (3.31 CF% relative to his team throughout his career)? Dillon could find himself the odd man out on the Sharks blueline next season.

2015-16 Sharks 5v5 Usage Chart (via Corsica Hockey):

Term definitions:

ZSR: Zone Start Ratio; The percentage of non-neutral zone starts that are offensive zone starts (OZS/(OZS + DZS))

TOI.QoT: Time On Ice Quality of Teammates; The weighted average TOI% of a player’s teammates

Rel.CF%: Individual corsi-for percentage subtracted by the team’s overall corsi-for percentage.

Brenden Dillon Hero Chart (via Own The Puck):

The Highlight:

One of the many firsts the Sharks achieved this season was their first undefeated six game road trip. That first was in danger on the last stop of the road trip in Columbus. Trailing 3-1 going into the third period, the Sharks sealed the comeback thanks to Dillon’s game winner. It may not be the prettiest goal of his career, but it couldn’t have come at a better time.