The Ottawa Senators have traded defenseman Dylan DeMelo to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
Jets Desperately Needed a Defenseman
The Jets, competing with the Arizona Coyotes, Calgary Flames, and Nashville Predators for a Western Conference wild card spot, have finally addressed their need to add an experienced blue-liner.
DeMelo, 26, has played 259-career NHL games between the San Jose Sharks — who drafted him in the sixth round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft — and the Senators, recording seven goals and 57 assists for 64 points.
This season, the right-handed London, Ontario product has recorded 10 assists and 31 penalty minutes in 59 games, has a plus-three rating, and has skated an average of 19:55, a career-high. His Corsi and Fenwick percentages are both well-above 50 per cent, impressive considering he plays for a team with a -44 goal differential.
DeMelo should help stabilize a Jets’ d-corp that’s been decimated and struggling all season long. They lost Jacob Trouba, Tyler Myers, and Ben Chiarot in the offseason but didn’t add anyone of note despite there being a desperate need. The back-end issues were compounded further by Dustin Byfuglien’s last-minute decision to take a leave of absence and by a number of injuries throughout the season. They’ve stayed in the playoff race despite their patchwork D comprised of waiver-wire pickups and fringe players, but give up way too many high-danger chances overall.
Most importantly for the Jets, they made the addition without doing something rash such as trading away their first-round pick.
DeMelo is in the final year of an economical two-year contract that pays him $900,000 annually. The Jets very well may opt to re-sign him this summer in addition to going after a d-man with term.
Senators Piling Up Picks
DeMelo didn’t fetch a lot for the Senators — just a third-rounder — but having a pile of picks is always good for a team in a rebuilding mode.
The Senators, at 20-28-11, have a good chance of winning the NHL Draft Lottery this June and also have the San Jose Sharks’ first-round pick, which they recieved as part of the 2018 trade that sent Erik Karlsson to the West Coast.
The Senators possess a whopping 14 picks now; in addition to their own, they have the Columbus Blue Jackets’ and Dallas Stars’ second-round selections, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s fifth-rounder, and the Sharks’ sixth-rounder.
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Declan Schroeder is a 26-year-old communications specialist and freelance journalist in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He holds a diploma in Creative Communications with a major in journalism from Red River College and a bachelors in Rhetoric and Communications from the University of Winnipeg.
Deeply rooted in the city’s hockey culture, the original Jets skipped town when he was two and the 2.0 version came onto the scene when he was 17.