It was only last week that the hot topic around the Winnipeg Jets was the need for forward Nino Niederreiter to receive a contract extension. Simply put, the voices pushing for it — and there were many after his solid start to the season — were coming from outside the organization, not from within it.
So in lockstep with that, if we’re spending other people’s money and handing out extensions, then it might be time to apply the same type of risk-free thinking to the future of defenceman Dylan DeMelo.
Like Niederreiter, DeMelo’s contract expires after this season, and similar to his teammate, he provides a unique asset to the Jets. He’ll never score 20 goals, put up 70 points, or win a Norris, but there is great value in his presence on the team’s blue line.
For starters, he’s Josh Morrissey’s partner, and a contributing reason for why Morrissey had an all-star season last year. DeMelo is part of the foundation in a pairing that regularly plays against the other team’s best forward line and often leads their team in defensive minutes.
In terms of his own accomplishments, the 31-year-old leads the team in blocked shots and plus-minus this season — no small accomplishments when you’re also one of the Jets’ top penalty killers. Plus, he’s a right-handed shot in an organization that isn’t rich with depth on that side of the ice, and he’s a tremendous fit in the team’s dressing room and a big part of the “family” of an improved team culture.
So in this fantasy exercise as the Jets’ GM, what is DeMelo worth?
Well, probably around the $3 million he’s currently making per season, only add two to three more years to his expiring deal.
Of course, that might be easier said than done, but after all, if we’re spending other people’s money and making decisions on where to allocate funds and which contracts to extend, then Dylan DeMelo should be next in line — right behind the voices that were pushing for the same thing a week ago, but for one of his teammates.