WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Capitals lost one defenseman possibly for the season, and brought another one back.
Washington re-signed Brenden Dillon to a $15.6 million, four-year contract Tuesday, an announcement that came minutes after saying Michal Kempny would miss six to eight months following surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon. Dillon will count $3.9 million against the salary cap through the 2023-24 season.
Like Kempny in 2018 when the Capitals won the Stanley Cup, Dillon fit in seamlessly after they acquired him at the trade deadline. As much as they are up against the flat, $81.5 million salary cap, the Capitals could use long-term injury relief with Kempny to keep Dillon.
It’s unclear when the 2020-21 season will start, though Commissioner Gary Bettman said on NHL Network that Jan. 1 was the new target date. Kempny’s recovery would take him out through at least March.
The 30-year-old was injured during training in his native Czech Republic. After being a part of the Cup-winning team, Kempny missed the 2019 playoffs and start of last season with a torn left hamstring.
Washington acquired Dillon, 29, from San Jose in February for a 2020 second- and 2021 third-round pick. The Canadian defenseman averaged 22 minutes of ice time during the postseason for the Capitals, who wanted to bring him back despite a tough cap situation.
They’re expected to lose goaltender Braden Holtby in free agency.
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