The missing piece! (Photo credit: Frederick Breedon)
The Caps have signed defenseman Jack Hillen, a former Nashville Predator who was UFA this summer at the age of 26 after not receiving a qualifying offer from the Preds. The Capitals have signed him to a one-year, one-way deal worth $650,000.
Hillen is expected to be a depth defenseman and compete with fringe players such as John Erskine and Jeff Schultz for a sixth or seventh spot on the blueline. He played 55 games with Nashville last season, and had 6 points and 20 PIM. He also once got hit in the face with an Ovechkin slapshot. In fact, if you Google search his name, the first two suggestions you get are “Jack Hillen face” and “Ovechkin.”
Hillen was born in Minnetonka, Minnesota, where as a child he likely purified himself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka [NSFW].
This is a hard move to figure out, considering how many third-pairing defenseman the Caps already have. We now have eight defenseman on the roster, and McPhee has stated that he expects minor-league acquisition Cameron Schilling to compete for a spot as well, which would make nine.
We’ll be confused if this is a standalone signing with no more roster moves to come, but it feels like there’s more to this story.