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

The Ottawa Senators' Dylan DeMelo dives for the puck around the Boston Bruins' David Krejci during third-period NHL action in Ottawa, Monday, Dec. 9, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

The acquisition of Dylan DeMelo isn’t a ‘wow’ trade by Winnipeg, but it is a trade that targets the Jets’ needs on defence, now and in the future.

At six feet and 190 pounds, DeMelo isn’t a hulking presence at the blue line. He won’t make the Jets’ defence bigger.

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But at 26, he brings five seasons of NHL experience between Ottawa and San Jose.

He understands the heavy play of the west and the flash and dash of the east.

But when it comes to flash, don’t expect that from DeMelo.

READ MORE: Jets acquire defenceman DeMelo from Senators for third-round pick

Instead, expect a steady presence and the ability to make the first play with a strong lead pass on a consistent basis.

Similar to Neal Pionk, DeMelo is a piece in the Jets’ defence that will help solidify the structure, especially on the right side.

DeMelo will join Pionk and Tucker Poolman as the Jets’ three right-handed defencemen.

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This allows lefties like Luca Sbisa, Sami Niku and Dmitry Kulikov the ability to play on their natural side, where they can find the most success.

And if all goes well, the most important aspect of the DeMelo trade is that he can play an important role and minutes for the Jets and sign as a free agent at the end of the season for a reasonable price.

Yes, aiding in the playoff push is the top priority right now, but this trade is a move towards the off-season rebuild of the Jets’ back end.

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