Having been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs on the last day of the regular season, the Dallas Stars used the opportunity to call up some of the players who they felt were close to making a serious case in making the big club the following year (which of course has been cut in half thanks to the lockout). One of those called up to play against St. Louis was defenseman, Brenden Dillon.
Born in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, the 22 year old defenseman worked his way through the ranks of the junior hockey world, putting in four years with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL. After averaging right at 70 games each season, Dillon exploded for his best season in 2010-2011 by scoring 59 points and adding 139 PIMS. From there, it was an easy decision for the Dallas Stars to offer him a 3-year entry level contract.
In his first full season with the Texas Stars, he played in 76 games and put up 29 points (6G-23A) in an abysmal season that saw Texas finish last in the Western conference. Dillon realized a dream when he was called up to the big club in Dallas for the final game of the season against St. Louis.
Now, seeing full time play with Dallas, Brenden has been one of the more consistent players in an inconsistent defensive corp. Brenden ranks 3rd for Dallas defensemen in +/- at -1 and is near the top in shots with 11. It has been quite some time since Dallas has had several blueliners who were not timid about getting the puck toward the net, and having a 6’4”, 230 pound shot is bound to create a substantial amount of 2nd and 3rd chance shots from roaming forwards.
After his tilt with Detroit’s Jordin Tootoo, the media has began to notice the quiet Dillon, but we here at StarsInsider have been waiting for this opportunity to chat with Brenden and we couldn’t be any happier that we were able to have that opportunity.
StarsInsider: What player growing up had the most influence on you?
Brenden Dillon: Growing up I would have to say Bobby Orr. I was a big fan of just how well rounded of a player he was. Most recently though since high school I've been a big Shea Weber fan. I think he's an unbelievable player, someone I try to model my game after.
SI: What compelled you to play defense over forward?
BD: When I was younger we didn’t have many guys who wanted to play defense so my coach said if anyone wanted to play D they would get more ice time, so I gladly took the offer and I guess never looked back! My dad was also a defenseman which I always kinda wanted to be like him so he helped me with a lot of things early on with tips and pointers here and there.
SI: Favorite part of living in Austin? Least?
BD: Austin was awesome for a young guy like me; young crowd and lots of cool shops and restaurants! For an AHL city it’s gotta be one of, if not the best. Worst thing probably that it wasn’t Dallas (laugh). No I really enjoy the city of Austin but love being in Dallas now. It’s a great city, big and lots to do! Nice people here in the Big D, great weather. It’s hard to complain about anything up here (just wait until you get stuck on 635 rush hour traffic).
SI: Do you have any superstitions? Do you have a particular pre-game routine?
BD: I’m not too superstitious as long as I get my nap and good chicken with penne pasta in on game day I'm fine. Normal hockey routine is I tape all my sticks when I get to the rink, then same stretching and warm-ups followed up by some donkey-ball with the guys before I start getting dressed. Nothin’ too out of the ordinary I don’t think.
SI: List five songs on your iPod that are must for pre-game/workout.
BD: In my mind - Axwell I need your Love - Ellie Goulding ft Calvin Harris Devils Work Dirty South Remix - Mike Snow Love Me Lots - Bridges & Law Remix Radioactive - Imagine Dragons
SI: What’s the first thing you bought with your first pro contract?
BD: My parents got me a car when I was 17 and moved away from home so that had to be passed on to my sister when she got her license last summer so with that being said I bought myself a truck kinda treated myself with that.
SI: Why the number 4?
BD: I was number 4 always growing up until junior when a older player on the team had it so I went with 5 the next best thing. Then coming to Dallas no one had number 4 and the trainers of all numbers gave it to me and I was more than happy to wear 4 in a Dallas jersey!
SI: Team and/or player you absolutely hate to play against?
BD: Team; so far it would be St. Louis. They play really hard in all aspects of their game. Player; so far no one sticks out too much more than others.
SI: Who is the toughest person you’ve ever dropped mitts with? Who won?
BD: I’d have to say Jordin Tootoo would be up there for sure. He’s had more than a few fights in his day. I think you saw that one so I’ll let you be the judge (laughs).
SI: What sport, besides hockey are you good at?
BD: I love to play all sports. Umm, one that I’m particularly good at…I don’t know does Xbox count (laughs)? I’m just kidding. I’d say basketball and volleyball. I played at pretty high levels growing up tried to be a pretty good all around athlete.
SI: Favorite thing to do in the off-season?
BD: Offseason? Just to relax and have some downtime, see buddies I haven’t seen all year. Vancouver’s got a lot of pretty cool areas especially in the summer when I’m home with the nice weather. I also like to spend some time in Seattle where I played my junior hockey. My billet family has a really nice house on the lake I like to take advantage of when I’m down there spending time with them.
SI: Do you have any nicknames?
BD: I’ve had a couple nicknames. In junior I had long hair my last year and did pretty well on the fitness testing so few of the guys called me Zeus and a few of the guys in Austin actually called me that, but most guys just call me Dills or Diller keep it simple and easy.
SI: Coming into this season, obviously your goal was to make the team. Now that has happened, what do you see your role being, especially with the departures of Steve Ott and Mark Fistric in terms of physicality?
BD: Yeah, my goal from day 1, this year especially, was to make the Dallas Stars and I’m still taking it day by day but it’s definitely awesome to be here. I understand the players that have been lost and the type of game I play. I think I am a very mobile, puck moving defenseman who loves to play physical and bring some grit. I’m a bigger guy who understands that a player who can be strong and hard to play against is a big role that especially on the backend has to be filled, and I’m happy to bring that to the table here with the Stars.
SI: Would you ever coach hockey? If so, at what level?
BD: Yeah, I definitely would coach hockey. Guess I'd wanna start young and then go from there!
The Shootout: Steak or chicken? Steak Beach or mountains? Beach It’s an off-season Saturday morning: Sleep in or up and at ‘em? up and at em Paper or plastic: paper Maserati or Lamborghini: Maserati Playstation or Xbox: Xbox for sure WIN Olympic gold for Canada or LOSE in Stanley Cup Finals: Uhh tough one... I’d have to say win Olympic gold. I just hate losing. Regular season OT games: Go back to ties (eliminate 3-point games) or keep shootout Keep the shootout. I think it’s exciting for the fans.
There’s no doubt that Brenden Dillon knows that anything can happen, especially with a young team who has a new owner and new expectations. He keeps his game simple and fundamentally sound. He’s rarely out of position and already views his role as a large cog (no pun intend…yes, actually I did intend that) in the success of the Dallas Stars. He’s already shown he’ll drop ‘em with one of the toughest, grittiest guys in the league be it to stand up for a teammate (Tootoo laid a hard, but clean hit on then linemate, Philip Larsen and Brenden tried to lock horns with Tootoo that game) or to add a spark in a team that needs a little kick in the shorts. Regardless of what role he settles into, look for Brenden Dillon to make a name, and a long career here on Dallas ice.