The wheel and trade began for Ottawa senators general manager Pierre Dorion.
Senators swapped defender Dylan DeMelo with the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a third round pick in the 2020 NHL draft on Tuesday afternoon and won’t have to wait long to see his former teammates because he expects him to adapt to his first left against his former team on Thursday night when they met at the Canadian Tire Center.
The decision to treat DeMelo in exchange for a third round choice gives senators seven choices in the first three rounds of what is considered a strong draft. The club now has two first rounds to the NHL draft in June, three choices in the second round and two in the third hour that added what they got in exchange for DeMelo.
Moved here as part of the deal that sent Erik Karlsson to the San Jose sharks in September 2018, DeMelo is an unrestricted free agent on July 1st. He was not taken by surprise by the deal and when he saw a phone call from Dorion on Tuesday, as he prepared to face the Buffalo Sabers at night, he knew his career in the club was probably over.
“I’m kind of limbo right now. We’ll be playing with the senators on Thursday, so I don’t know if I’m going to leave now or stay here and wait until tomorrow,” DeMelo told Postmedia from his Ottawa home. “It doesn’t surprise me, when you’re out of a week, you see it’s progressing that way with regards to an ongoing exchange.
“I was just going through my routine, getting ready to play Buffalo tonight and I got the call and as soon as I saw that Pierre was calling I had the idea of being swapped. Having said that, I can’t wait to have an opportunity with a team in the middle of the race for a playoff spot. We played them recently, it’s a really good team and they got really good pieces in front with a good goalkeeper, a good back-end and a great coach.
“It suits me. With (Dustin) Byfuglien and (Jacob) Trouba out, they talked about getting a defender, all year round. I’m happy that they chose me and I hope I can be that guy for them.” .
Although there was no formal exchange of offers between the two sides when it came to discussing an extension of the contract, DeMelo indicated that there had been exploratory talks between Dorion and his London agent Brian MacDonald. Let’s be honest, both parties would have had a good idea of what it would take to get a deal even if the offers hadn’t been submitted.
Senators are expected to make a decision about veteran defender Mark Borowiecki this summer, while the club has already offered Erik Brannstrom and Christian Wolanin up for grabs next year. It is quite possible that Jacob Pickers, selected by the University of North Dakota, may turn professional this summer and he is expected to be among the top four in the rankings.
Senators are unlikely to be willing to commit themselves to DeMelo for long even though he has adapted well to the club’s blue line with Thomas Chabot. Both sides knew where they were in these discussions and the sense is that they weren’t on the same page.
“I was a little surprised that we didn’t have any more speeches, but at the same time I understand that they have to do the best for the team,” said DeMelo. “I would certainly have offered an offer to stay in Ottawa, but unfortunately we weren’t able to come up with anything.”
DeMelo said he knows what great opportunity he has by joining the Jets.
“I am a UFA at the end of the year and being able to play some significant games along the way with a team fighting for a playoff spot with an organization I believe highly with Paul Maurice is a great opportunity,” he said. Demelo. “There are a lot of good pieces for this team to be good for a long time. I just got traded there, I won’t talk long term, but on the surface I’m really excited about the opportunity.”
Winnipeg GM Kevin Cheveldayoff claimed to have watched DeMelo for a while.
“We really appreciated his progression over time and what he has become with his growth as a player and his development,” he said. “We were on the market for a defender. We have stepped up all these efforts and as you can see there have been more exchanges today. “
In a statement, Dorion wished DeMelo all the best in Winnipeg.
“On behalf of the organization, I would like to thank Dylan DeMelo for his two seasons in Ottawa,” said Doroion. “Dylan is a high character and a reliable defender for whom we want the best in Winnipeg.”
ALSO IN THE NEWS
CHRIS PHILLIPS: the best career moments of a great NHL of all time
Ben Kuzma: wing Tyler Toffoli travels to Vancouver with a package
GARRIOCH: It will be a special night as Chris Phillips n. 4 is raised to the beams