Dillon, a free agent signing out of the Western Hockey League in March 2011, had 29 points (6 goals, 23 assists) and 97 penalty minutes in 76 games with the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League this past season. He ranked second on the team in scoring among defensemen.
“Brenden has been really good. At Traverse City (NHL Prospect Tournament) and his first NHL camp, he really opened some eyes,” said Scott White, Texas Stars GM and Dallas’ Director of Minor League Operations. “I think he adjusted well his first couple months and then he kind of had the dog days of January and February, where it kind of bit him a little bit, but all of a sudden he became our best guy in mid-February right through. He’s knocking on the door. He’s come a long way. He’s physical, he can skate and he can shoot it. I think his details on both side of the puck are improving daily.”
Dillon, 21, has good size (6-foot-3, 210 pounds), skates well, has some offensive tools and can play a physical, solid defensive game.
He got his first taste of NHL action in Dallas’ regular season finale against St. Louis and made a solid impression. He played 19:59 and registered a game-high six shots on goal. He also had four hits and three blocked shots.
After the game, Dillon received high marks from Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan, who had coached him at the end of the 2010-11 season when he joined Texas on an amateur tryout contract after his junior career had ended.
“I thought his game was strong,” Gulutzan said. “I can see he’s made strides from when I had him a year ago. I think you guys can judge for yourselves, but I think he’s going to be right around it come September.”
And the Stars do expect Dillon to be pushing for a job when training camp rolls around in Boise, Idaho.
“Brenden is right around the big team, I would say,” said Les Jackson, Dallas Stars Director of Player Personnel. “The last couple of years have really been good for him. The last year in Seattle (Western Hockey League) he took a really big step. This year he carried a lot of key minutes and played in a lot of key situations down there. He had his moments where he had his hardships, but overall it was a very positive year for him. I’d say he’s knocking on the door to make the big team in September.”
Background on Dallas Stars prospect Brenden Dillon.