Come on, who didn’t love this guy? Both on and off the ice, Dylan DeMelo was exactly what Senators fans needed to bridge them through two years of tanking. He is also the type of player the Senators badly need.
Pierre Dorion totally had the right to trade DeMelo to Winnipeg, prior to this year’s trade deadline. As the boss of a rebuilding team, it is his job to recoup as many prospects and picks as possible for your expiring assets. The 3rd round pick the team got back for him is fine. In terms of his actual on-ice value though, it’s never going to match.
Demelo was the ideal partner for Thomas Chabot. When they played together, he was the stable defensive force that a high-flying offensive superstar like Chabot needs. The two played over 1000 minutes together after DeMelo arrived in the Erik Karlsson trade, and were sensational.
There have been 17 Senators defence pairings that have played over 100 minutes together since the start of the 2018-19 season. They controlled the expected goals share better than any other of these pairings, with a 52.36 xGF%. In terms of pure chances created, using their Corsi for percent, they ranked 2nd out of the 17, with a 49.33CF%. (Stats via NaturalStatTrick)
When D.J Smith came in as head coach, the two saw far less ice time together, as the coach preferred to pair Chabot with Ron Hainsey or Nikita Zaitsev. DeMelo, therefore played most of his minutes in 2019-20 with Mark Borowiecki. Coincidentally, Borowiecki had a career year offensively, posting 7 goals and 11 assists. He gained the confidence to jump into plays, knowing he had a steady defensive partner in DeMelo.
The point of evaluating these pairings is to see what an effective complementary player DeMelo is. He has the capability to make those around him better and is the type of player every team needs. With just 10 assists in 59 games played this year, he’s never going to be a star attraction but is certainly one the Ottawa Senators have let get away. He’s a far better, and cheaper option than someone like Nikita Zaitsev.
This signing his probably the smallest likelihood out of any in today’s piece. The Senators have plenty of defence prospects, and Artyom Zub is essentially guaranteed a lineup spot come the 2020-21 season. If the Senators do decide to cut bait with some of their current ineffective options though, bringing back Dylan DeMelo should be something Pierre Dorion at least explores. This content thread below should tell you all you need to know:
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