Brenden Dillon got emotional when asked if this was possibly his last game as a Shark. pic.twitter.com/7yBJd0UKKy
— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) February 17, 2020
SAN JOSE — Brenden Dillon’s name has been out there in trade rumors as much as anyone’s on the Sharks roster over the past several weeks.
Dillon’s played through it all, taking on as much or more responsibility now with the Sharks than he has at any point in his previous five seasons in San Jose.
But there is an emotional component as well, and with the trade deadline coming up in one week, there’s a strong chance that Monday’s Sharks game with the Florida Panthers was Dillon’s last at SAP Center with the team.
“I don’t know, we’ll kind of see what happens.,” an emotional Dillon said after the Sharks’ 5-3 loss “But, you know, I like being here. Try to play hard every night. It’s kind of out of my control.”
Dillon was credited with three hits and two blocked shots in 19 minutes and 16 seconds of ice time. He is in the last season of a five-year contract he signed with the Sharks in June 2015, and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July.
Including Monday, Dillon has played 438 games with the Sharks. When Pete DeBoer and Bob Boughner arrived in San Jose before the 2015-16 season, Dillon was mainly skating as a third pair defenseman.
But he’s been in the Sharks’ top four group for most of the last two seasons, and he’s averaging 19:22 of ice time per game this year, fourth-most among all Sharks blueliners.
“He’s a guy that wears his heart on his sleeve and he’s given a lot to this organization,” Boughner said. “He came a couple games short of winning a Stanley Cup here (in 2016). He’s got a lot of best friends in that room. I’m sure it’s emotional for him. I know it’s been on his mind, weighing on him. I don’t think it had affected his game. I think Dilly’s been a warrior and he gives us everything he has.”
Monday, TSN of Toronto listed Dillon as No. 5 on its ‘trade bait’ board. a list that “seeks to blend a player’s prominence with his likelihood of moving.”
“It’s tough to go through. He’s got some deep roots here and some great friends, and no one wants to leave that situation. But he understands. He’s a smart kid. He knows it’s a business, and he knows it’s a great opportunity as well. It sucks for everybody. we don’t want him to go either.”
Other Sharks listed by TSN include Patrick Marleau (No. 12), Joe Thornton (No. 13), Barclay Goodrow (No. 16).
In other words, this could be a vastly different group once the Sharks return from the road trip and play their first game back at SAP Center on Feb. 27 against the New Jersey Devils.
“It might be,” weighing on some players minds, Marleau said. “But the guys are putting in the work, putting in the good effort. There’s a good feeling on the bench going into games. It’s not showing, I don’t think.”