He’s played just 10 games for the Capitals this season, but defenseman Jack Hillen showed general manager George McPhee enough to earn himself a two-year extension worth $1.4 million.
Hillen, 26, will earn $700,000 next season and in 2014-15.
Hillen has one assist and 10 penalty minutes in 10 games with the Caps this season. He currently ranks eighth on Washington in average ice time per game (18:21) after missing 25 games with an upper body injury.
Hillen would have been a free agent after this season. His signing leaves the Capitals with seven pending unrestricted free agents: forwards Mike Ribeiro, Matt Hendricks, Wojtek Wolski, Eric Fehr, Aaron Volpatti and Joey Crabb; and defenseman Tom Poti. Of those six, Hendricks appears to be the most likely to re-sign with the Capitals, followed by Fehr and Ribeiro.
The Caps also have four pending restricted free agents on their current roster: forwards Marcus Johansson; defensemen Karl Alzner and Tomas Kundratek; and goaltender Michal Neuvirth. Of those four, Alzner, Johansson and Kundratek are expected to be re-signed, while Neuvirth could be dealt in a sign-and-trade.
Hillen was signed overt the summer after recording six points (two goals, four assists) and 20 penalty minutes in 55 games with the Nashville Predators last season. He finished the season eighth on Nashville in plus/minus (plus-six) and tied for eighth in blocked shots (65).
Hillen has collected 57 points (10 goals, 47 assists) and 139 penalty minutes in 240 career NHL games with the New York Islanders, Nashville and the Caps.