Dallas Stars Sign Defenseman Brenden Dillon to 1-year, $1.25 Million Contract

The Stars get Dillon signed in time to get him to Dallas for next week's opener against the Chicago Blackhawks. Perhaps.

The Dallas Stars have signed defenseman Brenden Dillon to a one-year contract worth $1.25 million, ending what had been a tough negotiation with the last remaining unsigned RFA.

The Stars had reportedly been seeking a three-year deal for Dillon, who in turn was wanting something a bit shorter term. Instead, the two sides agreed to a one-year deal at a very affordable price that will leave Dillon an RFA next summer but this time with arbitration rights.

The Stars and Dillon had come to a standstill over the perceived value of the talented defenseman, a tough spot for both the team and the player for someone of his style and role. Dillon is clearly a valuable member of the Stars blueline and a clear top-four NHL defenseman, yet his offensive production did not match those of other defenseman who had received higher annual value on their contracts.

What is amazing here is that Jim Nill accomplished what many felt would be almost impossible -- to keep the Stars under the cap while signing both Eakin and Dillon. Not only are they signed, but the Stars still have room to maneuver under the cap if needed, especially considering the Rich Peverley situation.

Update: Mike Heika has his story up on the signing with a couple of good quotes from both sides on the negotiations and the contract:

"It's a great opportunity for him to prove himself, and that's always a good thing," Stars general manager Jim Nill said. "It was a tough negotiation and we know that he wanted to look at a longer deal, but this is something that works for both sides."

"It was tough at times, but you work through it and you find a compromise," Dillon's agen Jarrett Bousquet said. "Brenden wants to get in there and prove he's worth more, and I think he'll do that."

While this leaves the Stars and Dillon in almost the same spot as this summer, this is a great chance for Dillon to prove this season that he deserves the high-dollar contract many felt he should have received. Dillon took on a bit of a different role for the Stars last season and his numbers reflected that; this season, he'll be a bigger part of the defense and will be instrumental in helping lead a young and inexperienced blueline on what is supposed to be a run at the postseason.

Dillon's injury prior to the playoffs last season showed just how important he is to this blueline, as his absence created all sorts of matchup issues for the Stars as they tried to get past the Anaheim Ducks. Dillon returned late in the series but was clearly not 100%, and it was costly for the Stars -- he is definitely a valuable player for this team.

Press release below:

FRISCO, Texas - Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has signed defenseman Brenden Dillon to a one-year contract. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Dillon, 23, recorded career-highs in almost every statistical category during the 2013-14 campaign. He finished the season with 17 points (6-11=17), including two shorthanded goals, and a plus/minus rating of +9 in 80 regular-season contests with the Stars. Dillon ranked fourth among all NHL defensemen and led all Stars skaters with a +20 rating at home this season. He also led the club with 168 hits and ranked second with 149 blocked shots.

The native of New Westminster, British Columbia made his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut, logging two shots and two penalty minutes in two postseason contests.

Dillon has recorded 25 career points (9-16=25) in 129 regular-season NHL games over parts of three seasons, all with the Stars. He has also registered 43 points (9-34=43) in 123 regular-season American Hockey League games with the Texas Stars. Dillon represented Team Canada at the 2013 IIHF World Championship, scoring one goal, posting a +3 rating in eight games at the tournament.

"Brenden is a young defenseman that plays a tough, physical game," Nill said. "Over the last few seasons, he's learned to use that size and strength to his advantage helping him evolve into a solid shut-down defenseman. Brenden is an important part of our group and we expect him to keep growing into the player we know he can become."

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound defenseman went undrafted and was originally signed by Dallas as a free agent on March 1, 2011.