A Demons defender is reportedly considered a likely chance of departing Melbourne this year, despite being contracted at the club for next season.

While Melbourne's full focus is currently directed at Thursday night's blockbuster qualifying final matchup with Collingwood, it will eventually turn to the list management aspect of its operation, with a contracted backman seemingly likely to want out.

Key-position defender Adam Tomlinson, who swapped GWS for Melbourne in 2019, is expected to seek a move away from the Dees, according to AFL Media's Cal Twomey on Thursday.

After playing 13 games in his maiden Melbourne season, the Victorian has managed subsequent campaign game totals of seven, eight, and eight again this year, struggling to retain a spot in Simon Goodwin's preferred side.

Having just ticked over 30 years of age, the Demons' overlooked stopper may seek more fruitful playing opportunities next season, and with Melbourne's fearful backline seemingly set for the foreseeable future, that opportunity could come at a different club in 2024.

Quizzed about whether he thought Tomlinson would remain in Demons colours beyond this year and see out the remainder of his contract, Twomey wasn't confident.

"I don't think so," he said via SEN on Thursday.

"There's going to be a number of clubs looking for those type of defenders. It might depend on where the big dogs go."

Twomey named a pair of rebuilding clubs as potential Tomlinson destinations if a trade away from Melbourne is the eventual outcome.

"I reckon North Melbourne or Hawthorn could be an option for 'Tommo'," Twomey added.

At face value, the Kangaroos appear a live chance at pursuing Tomlinson, particularly if key defender Ben McKay ultimately departs Arden Street via free agency.

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This year's free agency period commences on October 6, while the trade period is set to kick off on October 9.