With the San Jose Sharks currently 12 points out of a playoff spot, it’s no surprise that the team appears to be in sell mode, especially in wake of the recent injuries to Logan Couture, Erik Karlsson and Tomas Hertl. NHL insiders report that the Sharks are looking to ship off their pending UFAs in order to replenish their bare stock of draft picks in the upcoming 2020 draft, a situation compounded by the absence of the first-rounder sent to Ottawa in the Erik Karlsson trade.
First among the names of potential trade chips is Brenden Dillon, the 29-year-old left-handed defenseman who has reportedly garnered interest from a half-dozen teams (including Carolina and Boston) and looks as good as gone, despite his stated wish to stay a Shark as long as possible. Now, thanks to Craig Custance of The Athletic, we have a better understanding of what the Sharks want in a return package.
In his “NHL Trade Big Board 2.0” piece, Custance implies that the Sharks would be looking for a second-rounder and a “good prospect” in any deal involving Dillon. However, the scout Custance spoke to regarding the pending UFA seemed pessimistic that interested teams would pay up, hinting that either the market, the price, or both may need to change before talks on a deal accelerated, as teams were (again!) reluctant to pay top dollar for deadline-day rentals. This lines up with the possibility mooted by Pierre Lebrun in an earlier piece, where the plugged-in insider mentioned that teams may seek permission to speak to Dillon’s agent about a contract extension before pursuing a deal, possibly expanding the trade market for the defenseman.
Dillon is one of the few bright spots on the Sharks this season, having provided 4 Goals Above Replacement to date (per Evolving -Hockey’s model) and ranking fourth on the team in the metric. With his situational versatility, his penalty-killing, his ability to play on either side of a pairing and his physicality, Dillon is one of the most attractive players across the league to deadline-day suitors and should command a decent return.
Extracting maximum value from him could go a long way towards ensuring the success of the upcoming rebuild in San Jose.