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Cheveldayoff: Jets have opened talks with pending UFAs DeMelo, Dillon

Winnipeg Jets Dylan DeMelo - Getty Images

Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said Thursday the team has opened preliminary contract talks with pending unrestricted free agents Dylan DeMelo and Brenden Dillon.

Cheveldayoff stopped short saying negotiations were ongoing with the two defencemen. 

"Either myself or (assistant general manager) Larry Simmons has had conversations with each of their respective agents," Cheveldayoff said. "Those are conversations are ongoing. I'm not telling you there's negotiations ongoing or anything like that. When you're in our situation here, you try to be as transparent as possible given the different parameters, but sometimes you can only be transparent so far.

"They're big parts of our team, there's no question about that. We're not having the success that we're having here without those guys. So, the fact that they're both not signed shouldn't diminish the willingness to want to get them signed."

DeMelo and Dillion are among the three pending unrestricted free agents on the league-leading Jets, along with goaltender Laurent Brossoit

The 30-year-old, who carries a cap hit of $3 million this season, has one goal and 13 points in 40 games this season. He is second on the Jets in average ice time, playing 21:51 per game.

Dillon, 33, is signed at a cap hit of $3.9 million in the last season of a four-year deal signed with the Washington Capitals in 2020. He has six goals and 14 points in 40 games this season while averaging 18:44 of ice time.

Winnipeg currently has just shy of $12.4 million in projected cap space for next season, according to CapFriendly. The team has four pending restricted free agents on their current roster in forward Cole Perfetti, defencemen Logan Stanley and Declan Chisholm and currently-injured forward David Gustafsson.