Some things are too good to be true. A beautiful sunset will eventually turn into the night sky, and everything you care about will inevitably leave you. That’s what I learned last night when the Washington Capitals traded defenseman, Brenden Dillon, to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a 2022 2nd-round pick and a 2023 2nd-round pick.
For most fans of any team, this is just a trade that needed to be done by a team who needs to meet salary cap requirements. Of course, I understand that as I’m sure Brenden Dillon understands that. It doesn’t mean it sucks any less. Now, the Capitals have traded plenty of defensemen in the past and, although I may have liked them, I didn’t care about those deals nearly as much as I care about this one.
Dilly, as we love calling him, was a unique player for the Capitals in my life because, as I’m sure everyone reading this knows, he was my best friend.
His lack of replying to my tweets only strengthened the bond we had as friends.
Our friendship began last Summer when I wrote an article about how he should re-sign in Washington. Being a regular person who likes to see positive things written about themselves, he liked the tweet and also opted to follow me back, making him the first NHL player to follow me on Twitter. Boom. Immediate best friends. Of course, he ended up re-signing and I don’t think it’s a stretch to think that I played a big role in that.
Aside from being the first player to follow me, he was also the first player I ever interviewed, or ever Twitter DM’d and actually got a response from (confirming that, yes, I have DM’d other players before and gotten 0 answer just so many times). I reached out to him to come on the podcast, he actually replied and agreed to, we had him on and he was incredibly friendly and easy-going, and he would still talk to me occasionally which was nice and unnecessary of him. It just shows the kind of person Dilly is – a good one.
Aside from what he did off of the ice for myself and us here at Chirpin’ DMV, he was also a horse on the ice. I’m sure we all remember what happened in one of his first games for the Caps…
Of course, this fight + his interview with us inspired one of the biggest things to come from us so far: #FlipTheDillySwitch
For the Capitals and throughout his entire career, Dilly has been a tough-as-shit defensive D-man who loves to play the physical game. He logged major minutes and was usually playing on the top pair for the Caps this past season. Although a flawed stat, Dilly finished the season with a +15 which is no coincidence or technicality, he was just able to prevent the other teams from scoring more than the Capitals. In addition to his usual gritty game, Dilly also threw together his best season offensively this year with two goals and 17 assists for 19 points in only 56 games. Essentially, he was a horse for the team and is a player who will be missed big time on the ice.
Dilly was a player who received an insane amount of criticism from Caps Twitter, which isn’t out of the ordinary, but he really had it laid on thick. People would say he’s bad at hockey and that we need to trade him or expose him to Seattle. I mean, obviously Dilly didn’t care because why would he? It’s like someone with a DUI yelling at you that you can’t drive. Like “oh really, you sure I can’t drive?” But for people in the Caps Twitter universe (myself) it was annoying for random people to try to say that this guy was bad at hockey when I just wasn’t seeing it (and yes, I say players are bad all the time too, just usually not Caps and only if I’m exaggerating).
Did he make some mistakes? Yes. Does Alexander Ovechkin make mistakes? Yes, he does. Dilly’s just had a magnifying glass on them because he’s a big D who wasn’t scoring a ton. It was unfair, but it’s good to know that he literally didn’t care even a little about it and just kept doing his thing.
It’s a sad day knowing that Dilly’s gone, but it’s also a unique situation because I have rarely seen an outcry for a top-four defenseman who wasn’t here all that long leaving Washington like I do for Dilly (except for Jonas Siegenthaler, people are missing that guy). It shows that he definitely made an impact in his little amount of time here. I’m glad to know that people appreciated what he did for Washington the same way I did both on and especially off the ice. In our eyes, Dilly was, and will continue to be a beast.
It’s also nice knowing he’s going to be a big piece in Winnipeg. Their blue line needs help and a gritty vet like Dilly stepping in will only speed up the process. But maybe I can see him more on the ice now that he’s back in Canada.
Thank you, Dilly, for your short service here in D.C. It definitely impacted me in a big way and helped me better understand what it’s like interacting with players from a media standpoint which is massive for me moving forward. You have undeniably made a lifelong fan out of myself and many others. We wish you all the best over in Winnipeg and are excited for you to fight Tom Wilson in your first game against each other.
Sincerely, your best friend, Ben.