Nick Dal Santo ... bound for the Kangaroos. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
St Kilda is unlikely to trade Sam Fisher but agreed on Friday to release Nick Dal Santo to North Melbourne in a move that has now delivered the Saints four draft picks inside 25 as they continue their aggressive overhaul of their list by exchanging players of currency.
The decision to agree with Dal Santo not to recontract him meant the three time All-Australian could be considered an unrestricted free agent and move unimpeded to North, while the Saints could receive a second-round draft pick (No.25) in return as compensation.
The Dal Santo compensation meant that, after the earlier Ben McEvoy trade in which St Kilda received midfielder Shane Savage and a switch of draft picks with Hawthorn, the Saints now have picks 3, 17, 18 and 25 in the national draft.
Pick 25 might be used to secure Lions ruckman Billy Longer from Brisbane, whom the Saints met this week and are keenly pursuing.
St Kilda is likely to also secure out-of-contract North Melbourne defender Luke Delaney and is attempting to claim young Giants key back Josh Bruce.
The Dal Santo move came on the final day of free agency when the much anticipated awarding of compensation picks was finally revealed.
The AFL confirmed that Hawthorn and Collingwood would receive compensation draft picks after their first-round selections for the loss of Lance Franklin (19) and Dale Thomas (11).
Melbourne was given a second-round draft pick (23) for Colin Sylvia's move to Fremantle.
Hawthorn and Richmond did not receive compensation picks for losing Xavier Ellis and Matthew White because of the players' ages and the contracts they were offered at their new clubs.
Ellis was secured in the same draft as Thomas so it was on the basis of his relatively inferior contract that the Hawks were denied the draft pick.
St Kilda and Dal Santo agreed not to act on a trigger clause in his existing contract that could have required him to be re-signed for next season had either party demanded a new contract. Dal Santo could then transfer to North as a free agent rather than through trading, much to the chagrin of rival clubs.
Essendon had also been in the hunt for Dal Santo but the midfielder opted for the Kangaroos where he has been offered a three-year deal.
St Kilda's head of football Chris Pelchen said the deal was ''beneficial to both [Dal Santo] and St Kilda''.
''Nick has been an important part of the St Kilda Football Club since his debut in 2002,'' Pelchen said of the player who was third in the Brownlow Medal in 2005 and 2011.
''It was an extremely difficult decision to allow Nick to leave our club. As we have previously stated, Nick's move to North Melbourne would only occur through mutual agreement and, as such, we have honoured a position that is beneficial to both him and St Kilda.''
Saints coach Scott Watters paid tribute to the midfielder, saying he would always be well remembered at St Kilda.
''While we are disappointed to let go of a person of Nick's calibre, he moves to a new team that presents a new opportunity to him and I would personally like to wish him well for his future,'' Watters said.