Scott Hannan was in similar skates as Brenden Dillon over a decade ago.
The NBC Sports California analyst, then with the Colorado Avalanche, waived his no-trade clause to join the Washington Capitals on Nov. 30, 2010. The pressure was on the Caps to surround their core -- led by young superstars like Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom -- with veteran talent that could get them over the hump and lift the franchise's first Stanley Cup.
The Capitals don't necessarily face that same pressure, as Ovechkin and Co. won Washington's first Cup two years ago. But the hunger to win is still there, and the Capitals acquired Dillon, a physical defenseman much like Hannan was, in order to add to their collection of rings. Hannan's trade to Washington was his first, whereas this is the second time Dillon has been dealt.
That doesn't make adjusting to a new home any easier.
"It's difficult. It throws you for a loop, and then you've gotta be on the road with the team and then you've gotta come in and fit into that room," Hannan said Thursday on "Sharks Pregame Live." "It took me a while. Luckily I had the year. We finished off strong, we went into the playoffs, we did well. [I dealt with] a lot with what Dillon's going through right now."
Hannan, like Dillon, had to uproot his life midseason. He recalled needing to find a house and move his family, all as HBO's cameras rolled on the Capitals' locker room for their behind-the-scenes "24/7: Road to the Winter Classic" series ahead of the NHL's signature outdoor game.
Dillon won't have to worry about cameras from a pay-cable network (at least until the Stanley Cup playoffs), but he quickly must adjust to new surroundings. The 29-year-old made his Capitals debut in an overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday, skating alongside Norris Trophy candidate John Carlson. Dillon, Carlson and the rest of the Capitals will have 22 more games down the stretch to develop chemistry and familiarity, while the former Shark acclimates to his new reality.
Reality will set in the Sharks' locker room, too, according to Hannan. San Jose entered Thursday 12 points back of the Western Conference's final playoff spot, and Dillon's departure will crystalize that San Jose is headed for an early offseason.
"I think when you go through these years ... is it's like things are struggling, but it doesn't really seem real," Hannan said. "I know the coach got fired this year and things like that, but sometimes as players, you're really looking [at] that next game. You always think you've got a chance, but then that moment that trade deadline rolls around and somebody on your team gets traded, it makes it real and it makes it real real quick."
Hannan's last NHL season overlapped with Dillon's first with the Sharks in 2014-15. The former Shark called Dillon a player who, ultimately, is "tough to find and replace." The Sharks -- and their young players -- will miss Dillon's leadership, he said.
Trades always require a lot of adjustment, but Hannan said his former teammate will be up for the challenge.
"He's gonna go to a great team ... with a great chance to win the Cup," Hannan said. "He's gonna step right in there, and I know they're gonna get a quality player in Brenden Dillon and Washington's gonna be lucky to have him."
Programming Note: The "2020 NHL Trade Deadline Show" is coming your way this Monday, Feb. 24 at 11:30am on the MyTeams app and on NBCSportsBayArea.com! How will the Sharks be impacted heading into the Noon deadline? Don’t miss it!