7:03 pm: As announced by NHL Player Safety, Melanson has been suspended for two games for his illegal check to the head against Hamblin. In the video explanation for the decision, the Department provided the following justification:
This is an illegal check to the head. It is important to note that both elements of the illegal check to the head rule are satisfied on this hit. First, the head is the main point of contact; as Melanson’s shoulder makes contact with the head of Hamblin, and it is the head that absorbs the majority of the force of this hit. Second, the head contact on this hit is avoidable. Melanson chooses an angle of approach that cuts across the front of Hamblin’s body, missing his core and picking the head. If Melanson wants to deliver this hit, he must stay low and choose an angle that leads to a full-body check through the shoulder or chest, rather than one that makes the head the main point of contact.
Melanson will serve the suspension in the next two consecutive games that he is eligible to participate for Seattle.
11:05 am: There is a chance that Jacob Melanson is suspended for an NHL game before he even makes his debut. The young winger will have a hearing with the Department of Player Safety today for an illegal check to the head of Edmonton Oilers prospect James Hamblin.
Should he earn a suspension that stretches into the regular season, there is a way around it. The team could essentially keep him on the roster for an extra few days before sending him back to junior, though with the waiver crunch the Kraken are already going to experience, that may not be an option. Otherwise, the suspension would be waiting for Melanson whenever he does make it back to the NHL.
Of course, it also might just keep him out of preseason action, and not carry over to the regular season, given it happened so early in the exhibition schedule.
Melanson, a fifth-round pick of the Kraken in 2021, is known for his physicality and for going over the line at times. Earlier this year he was given a four-game suspension in the QMJHL for taking a run at an opponent, extending his leg to contact knee-on-knee. He also racked up 85 penalty minutes in his 54 games, though his game did prove effective. The young forward also registered 35 goals, breaking out offensively and becoming an interesting NHL prospect.
For now, he’ll have to wait to see what punishment is coming down from the league. If he ever does make the NHL, he’ll be under a watchful eye, as a preseason suspension will be taken into account in any further supplementary discipline decisions.