Brenden Dillon – NHL
Name: Brenden Dillon
Team: Dallas Stars
Height: 6’3″ Weight: 228lbs
Birthplace: New Westminster, BC
Acquired: Free Agent Entry Level Contract March 1, 2011
He may have taken the long road to get there, but for Brenden Dillon, the road to Big D has started to pay off as a key member of the future for the Dallas Stars blue line.
Before lacing up his NHL skates, Dillon’s journey started in the Pacific Junior Hockey League as a member of the Hope Icebreakers (now Mission City Outlaws), where his 31 points in 45 games was enough to impress the coaching staff of the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League.
Brenden Dillon took a long path to the NHL, and he’s taking advantage of it (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward)
However it wasn’t Dillon’s first impression that left a mark as the then fifteen year old was overlooked in the WHL’s bantam draft. Two years, seven inches and a couple of sandbags heavier, he signed on to join the Thunderbirds defense. After four years in the Emerald City, three of which finished with modest defenseman-like stats of 11, 10 and 14 points, his final season finished with a bang, tallying 59 points (8 goals, 51 assists) in 72 games.
With the big leagues in his sights, Dillon would find himself on the short end of the stick, as once again his name was absent from the draft board, this time it would be the 30 teams from the National Hockey League that left him hanging. While his NHL dreams would have to wait, Dillon’s 2010-11 season with the Thunderbirds did not go completely unnoticed as the Dallas Stars AHL affiliate the Texas Stars offered an entry level contract and the opportunity to dress for the final sixteen games of that same season, which included a six game playoff run.
Returning to the Stars the next season for 76 games, Dillon showed he was indeed ready and capable of playing in the big league as his 29 points earned him a one game visit to Big D in the final game of the season to tempt his taste buds and play with his emotions just a little more.
After six years of work in the WHL and AHL, the 2012-13 season finally brought the now 6’3″, 230lb Surrey native to his ultimate destination. On January 19, 2013, Dillon finally found his name stitched on the back of the Dallas Stars jersey and a full time spot on the active team roster.
While he did not find his name on any scoring sheets for his first seven games, Dillon had finally reached his destination and was receiving a decent share of minutes, averaging 17 mins a game. February 1 was Dillon’s official coming out party as he recorded a “Gordie Howe hat trick” in the Stars 4-3 shoot out victory over the Phoenix Coyotes.
Currently sitting third among the Stars defenders with 6 points (3 goals, 3 assists) in 20 games and a +- of 5, Dillon has proved that while the wait was lengthy and the road may have had more bumps and turns than hoped for, it has well been worth the wait.