Justin Braun/Brenden Dillon
Justin Braun and Brenden Dillon round out the Sharks defensive pairings. When Head Coach Peter DeBoer and the Sharks can place these two stalwart defenders on the third and final blue line pairing, you know the San Jose Sharks are ready to throw down as arguably the best defense in the league.
While their offensive numbers may be down, Vlasic and Dillon are relentless workhorses on the blue line as their defensive metrics have indicated.
Working with Vlasic nicely in the years past, Braun molds into a sturdy defensive support to increase the strength of the third pairing. A 201st overall pick in 2007 by San Jose, Braun averages just south of 20 minutes per game and blocked 152 shots, 22 fewer than Vlasic. Seen as an underrated defensemen, Justin Braun has put up a positive plus/minus over the five seasons and saw career-high totals in goals (5), assists (28), points (33), and hits (143) during the 2017-2018 campaign.
Adding belligerency into the mix of the Sharks blue line, Dillon lays heavy hits and is not afraid to drop the gloves in support of a fallen teammate.
Dillon possesses that burst of speed to be a sneaky sniper in offensive attacks. In his fourth year with San Jose, Dillon collected career-highs with five goals, 17 assists and 22 points as the third defensive duo with Dylan Demelo.
In spite of his personal bests on the scoring sheet, Dillon sticks to his advantage as a physical force on the resolute Sharks blue line. Dillon’s 197 hits stood as the most among any Sharks skater a season ago and blocked 107 shots, the fourth-most on the team behind Vlasic, Braun, and Burns.