After a promising rookie campaign, the Sharks resigned Dylan DeMelo to a two-year contract on Monday.
Dylan DeMelo, who had a fairly good first season in teal, signed a two-year extension as the 22-year-old restricted free agent will return to the Sharks next season.
According to Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area, the first year is a two-way deal, while it’s a one-way contract the following year:
#SJSharks sign RFA d-man Dylan DeMelo to a two-year extension. No terms yet, but it’s a two-way deal this season, one way in 2017-18
— Kevin Kurz (@KKurzCSN) July 11, 2016
That’s a very interesting component of the contract as that means DeMelo can be sent down to the AHL without having to clear through waivers. While there are no terms yet for the deal, this was an expected move from Doug Wilson as DeMelo showed some signs that he can be a regular at the NHL level.
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On most nights, he held down the sixth defenseman role in San Jose where he featured in 45 games as a rookie.
While not the biggest blue liner, DeMelo showed an ability to move the puck up the ice, and in the absence of Marc-Edouard Vlasic at the end of the year, proved that he could hold his own at the NHL level.
DeMelo averaged more than 13-and-a-half minutes of ice time per game a season ago with two goals, two assists, an even rating and 42 shots on goal.
It will be interesting to see what kind of role DeMelo can carve out for himself in San Jose as he will have to battle it out with Brenden Dillon and free-agent signee David Schlemko for ice time.
Meanwhile, DeMelo wasn’t the only blue liner signed by the Sharks on Monday as the team also agreed to terms with defenseman Dan Kelly on a one-year deal.
Kelly, who is familiar with Peter DeBoer after playing for him with Kitchener in the OHL, will likely bolster the blue line for the San Jose Barracuda.
In 352 career AHL games, including 55 with the Albany Devils last year, Kelly has notched 14 goals and 50 assists with a plus-44 rating.
With DeMelo back in the fold, that leaves Matt Nieto as the only unsigned regular from last season’s Sharks squad.
San Jose likely has less than $2M in cap space after inking DeMelo to a new deal so it’s a real possibility that Nieto could not be back in teal. Regardless, it was good to see the Sharks bring back DeMelo to see if he can continue to develop into a regular defenseman for San Jose.