Veteran blueliners Brenden Dillon and Dylan DeMelo are among the Jets players set to hit unrestricted free agency this summer. However, speaking with reporters yesterday including Murat Ates of The Athletic (subscription link), GM Kevin Cheveldayoff indicated that the team has had discussions with the agents for both players although he declined to say if those talks are currently ongoing.
Dillon is in his third season with the Jets after being acquired from San Jose, a move that has worked out well for the 33-year-old who has logged steady minutes on the second pairing while providing plenty of physicality and shot-blocking for several years now. With a $3.5MM cap hit, he’s likely to get an increase on that with a multi-year agreement.
As for DeMelo, the 30-year-old is in his fifth year with the team and is playing out the final season of a four-year, $12MM extension to avoid testing the open market back in 2020. He has seen his playing time jump to nearly 22 minutes a night this season which gives him some extra leverage, especially after putting up a career-high 27 points last year. Like Dillon, he’s in line for a raise and a multi-year deal as well. With both players being key pieces on the back end, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Cheveldayoff try to get a deal worked out with at least one of them before the trade deadline.
More from Winnipeg:
- Winger Nikolaj Ehlers left practice today with an upper-body injury, relays Scott Billeck of the Winnipeg Sun (Twitter link). His early exit is believed to be precautionary. Ehlers has battled injury issues over the last couple of seasons but has been healthy and productive in the first half of this season, notching 15 goals and 18 assists in his first 41 games.
- The team announced (Twitter link) that center Rasmus Kupari has been recalled from his conditioning loan with AHL Manitoba. Winnipeg sent the 23-year-old down to the Moose back on Tuesday to get him some game action after missing more than six weeks with a shoulder injury. He only suited up once on assignment – one that could have lasted for two weeks – and was held off the scoresheet. Kupari came to the Jets as part of the Pierre-Luc Dubois trade but he struggled considerably offensively before being injured, notching just one assist in 15 games.