George McPhee was comfortable with his defense corps last week after trading away Dennis Wideman’s rights, talking up Dmitry Orlov’s ability to take on a bigger role.
But then late Monday night the Washington Capitals signed 26-year-old defenseman Jack Hillen to a one-year, one-way contract worth $650,000, adding another player into the mix for depth.
Hillen had two goals and four assists and 20 penalty minutes in 55 games with the Nashville Predators last season. He has spent the majority of his NHL career in the New York Islanders’ organization.
Hillen figures to be another guy in the group of No. 5-No. 8 defensemen the Caps are piling up. In addition to Orlov, they already have Jeff Schultz and John Erskine under contract. With Hillen, the team has eight defensemen who are expected to make the NHL roster.
Monday afternoon McPhee explained he wasn’t working on much in unrestricted free agency. Right wing Joey Crabb (one year, $950,000) was the only signing before Hillen. They were teammates at Colorado College.