Ottawa wants to keep any building blocks it can, including DeMelo. Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The Senators are currently in the process of trying to get some of their pending unrestricted free agents signed in advance of the trade deadline. One of the players they’ve identified as worthy of keeping around is defenseman Dylan DeMelo. However, talks don’t appear to be going too well as Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch reports that the two sides are not in the same ballpark in discussions which increases the likelihood of him being traded over the next week.

The 26-year-old has been an important part of Ottawa’s back end this season, logging a career-high 19:55 per night, which is fourth among their defensemen. He also has chipped in with ten assists in 49 games while averaging nearly two hits per night. That’s a pretty good return for someone that carries a salary just $200K above the league minimum. It also has him well-positioned to land a notable raise on his next contract, especially as a right-shot defender, a spot that is often in short supply.

It’s that low price tag that will have many teams interested as even most cap-strapped squads have the ability to bring in someone with a $900K average annual value. Garrioch notes that Calgary, Tampa Bay, Vegas, and Winnipeg are among the teams looking for help on the back end. The Golden Knights could make sense as a landing spot for DeMelo as they are coached by Peter DeBoer who had the blueliner when both were with San Jose.

Beyond center Jean-Gabriel Pageau, DeMelo is arguably Ottawa’s next best trade chip so if the two sides can’t make significant progress on a new deal over the next few days, he will likely be on the move by next Monday’s deadline.

This article first appeared on Pro Hockey Rumors and was syndicated with permission.


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