- The Washington Times - Monday, July 26, 2021

The Washington Capitals traded defenseman Brenden Dillon on Monday night to the Winnipeg Jets for two second-round picks in what could be the first of several salary-cap-conscious moves.

Washington saves $3.9 million in cap space by moving Dillon. The team had left the 30-year-old unprotected during last week’s expansion draft, but the Seattle Kraken opted to choose goaltender Vitek Vanecek. That selection didn’t help the Capitals’ issues with cap room, with the team needing to resign captain Alex Ovechkin and restricted free agent goalie Ilya Samsonov this offseason.

Moving Dillon frees up some space, but it might not be the final move. According to CapFriendly, Washington has just over $13 million in cap space, and the team offered Samsonov a qualifying offer Monday.

Washington general manager Brian MacLellan said Saturday the team expects to re-sign Ovechkin by Wednesday. They might need additional cap space to get that deal done, leading to Dillon’s trade. The Capitals received second-round picks back from the Jets in the 2022 and 2023 drafts.

Dillon posted 19 points for the Capitals in 56 games last season. Washington had acquired Dillon in a trade with the San Jose Sharks midway through the 2019-20 season.

The trade could open a spot for Martin Fehervary on the NHL roster.

• Andy Kostka can be reached at akostka@washingtontimes.com.

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