Boston Bruins should target Winnipeg Jets defenseman in free agency

Looking add toughness and grit on the backend, the Boston Bruins should look to target Winnipeg Jets defenseman Brenden Dillon in free agency.
Winnipeg Jets v Washington Capitals
Winnipeg Jets v Washington Capitals / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

At the trade deadline in 2020, Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney was looking to make additions and one player that he kicked the tires on was San Jose Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon. Nothing got done between the two teams and the Sharks ended up trading him to the Washington Capitals.

Four years later, the rugged blue liner will hit free agency on July 1, unless he works out a deal with his current team, the Winnipeg Jets. Sweeney has a lot of cap space this summer to spend and moving goalie Linus Ullmark would open up $5 million more. With a need for defense going into the 2024-25 season, it wouldn't be surprising to see Sweeney kick the tires on Dillon and it would be a good move.

Brenden Dillon would fit right into Bruins lineup

Left-shot defensemen Derek Forbort and Matt Grzelcyk are both free agents this summer and are unlikely to return to the Black and Gold. Forbort was a good penalty killer for the Bruins and was a shot-blocking machine. Grzelcyk was a good puck-moving defenseman, but injuries have been an issue the last couple of seasons as well as falling out of the playoff rotation for head coach Jim Montgomery.

Youngster Mason Lohrei proved during the regular season that he's ready to be a full-time NHL defenseman, then in the playoffs, he should have all but cemented his spot in the top-six next season. However, Dillon would be an instant fan favorite with his style of play.

At 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, the 33-year-old recorded 241 hits this past season for Winnipeg and blocked 111 shots while averaging almost 19 minutes a night. Since being traded to the Jets from Washington, the undrafted blue liner was durable playing 79, 82, and 77 regular season games. This past season, he had eight goals and 20 points.

Finding his name on the scoresheet is not what Dillon does best, he's a physical player on the backend who never shy away from taking the body or blocking a shot. In the overall big picture, it's what the Black and Gold are missing back there the last two postseasons. Parker Wortherspoon and Andrew Peeke have been added to try and fill that void, but Dillon is more of that type of player.

Dillon is coming off a four-year, $15.6 million contract that carried an AVV of $3.9 million. What does he look for this off-season and will Sweeney find it too high and move on? Whether or not he signs Dillon, it's very much worth it for Boston's GM to at least kick the tires and see what happens. If he can make it work, signing him and adding to the backend makes too much sense for the Bruins.