Hextall on Hockey: Is Jets' Dylan DeMelo headed west in expansion draft?

So, Dylan DeMelo is unprotected in Wednesday night’s expansion draft … OK.

The Winnipeg Jets’ priority list entering the offseason was to upgrade the team’s blue line. If DeMelo is selected by Seattle, that task becomes far more difficult.

The 28-year-old is a right-handed defenceman. They do not grow on trees in Winnipeg or in the NHL.

DeMelo is a shutdown defenceman — watch the Edmonton series.

He’s not known for his offence but his steady play allows his D partner to elevate their game in the offensive zone.

DeMelo is also very well-liked and a strong voice in the dressing room.

Read more:
Hextall on Hockey: Dylan DeMelo a good fit for Winnipeg Jets

With three years left on his contract with a cap hit of $3 million per season, DeMelo is a great piece at a great price point.

Which fits the philosophy of Seattle GM, Ron Francis, who said that in today’s NHL environment, the one thing his organization thinks is extremely, extremely valuable is cap space.

Dylan DeMelo might be moving west.

If so, the gaps on Winnipeg’s blueline grow and with limited draft picks to play “let’s make a deal,” and a flat cap limit for free agency, and an Andrew Copp contract still unsigned …

I go back to my initial thought …

So, Dylan DeMelo is unprotected in Wednesday night’s expansion draft … OK.

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