ANALYSIS: Winnipeg Jets’ Dylan DeMelo is a quiet, reliable bright spot on defence

It most certainly wasn’t a night with an abundance of positive takeaways, but if you’re looking for a few bright spots in Tuesday’s loss to Los Angeles, one of them might have been the play of Dylan DeMelo.

Now in his fifth season with the Jets, the 30-year-old defenceman will never dazzle us with his up-the-ice rushes or step-up bodychecks in open ice, but rather his reliability.

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It’s that steadiness that has been a staple of his game since he arrived here in 2020 from Ottawa, and one of the most compelling arguments for why he’s paired with the team’s best defenceman, offensively-minded Josh Morrissey.

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Tuesday night, in a rather forgettable evening for the Jets, DeMelo contributed with an assist, nearly 22 minutes of ice time — second-most on the blueline — and was even par in plus/minus. As one of only two right-shooting D-men on a roster of eight and a stalwart on the team’s penalty kill, he’s unarguably become a keen asset.

Moreover, his family loves living here and he loves being a Jet, bringing up the fact Tuesday morning that with this being his fifth season in Winnipeg, it also happens to be the longest stop of his nine-year NHL career, and one he’s definitely proud of.

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Now, it’s unsure what the future holds for DeMelo with the Jets, as the Ontario product is on an expiring contract and set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season. And while there’s some young right-handed blueliners marinating with the Moose, one wonders how close any of them are to assuming a potential spot left vacant by a contract the organization chooses to let expire.

So from this chair, the Jets can’t afford to lose DeMelo. He proved that again on a night when there weren’t many positive takeaways in a home loss for Winnipeg.

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Winnipeg Jets veterans hope to forge the future of franchise with long-term partnership

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