Dissecting the Ottawa Senators’ Alex DeBrincat trade situation

Anyone following hockey news and social media rumors will notice that Ottawa Senators forward Alex DeBrincat is trending. Recently, the two-time 40-goal scorer declined to sign an eight-year extension with the team, prompting general manager Pierre Dorian to pick up the phone.

After turning down a significant raise and extension, further details have yet to emerge about why DeBrincat doesn’t want to stay in Ottawa past this summer. As a restricted free agent with arbitration rights, he’s not in control of this situation; the Senators are. However, if he wishes to continue his NHL career, there may need to be some concessions on his salary expectations to find a new home. 

Related: Erik Karlsson trade landing spots

Examining Alex DeBrincat’s trade value

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Columbus Blue Jackets

As mentioned, DeBrincat is just 25 years old and has already scored 40 goals in two seasons. Statistically, David Pastrnak just finished his ninth season in the league, and he’s only surpassed the 40 mark on three occasions. Ultimately, while playing five seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks, he was fortunate to play alongside Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, two of this generation’s elite players. 

Although DeBrincat didn’t miss a single game in 2022-23, his numbers dipped after being dealt to the Senators last summer. Besides scoring just 27 goals, his lowest total in three seasons, the team struggled, and because of that, he finished the year with a minus-31 rating, which ranked as the 12th-worst total in the league. 

Currently, he’s banking on his resume to land him a luxurious deal with a Stanley Cup contender. After six seasons, he’s played in just nine playoff games, which all happened in 2019-20 during the bubble playoffs in Edmonton. Considering how magical he can be during the regular season, he’s been chopping at the bit to contend for a championship. Ultimately, he is looking for the right environment to achieve his dreams. 

Best trade landing spots for Alex DeBrincat

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Ottawa Senators

The latest rumors indicate that the Detroit Red Wings are just working out salary cap numbers to acquire DeBrincat and add him to the youth movement in the Motor City. Interestingly, based on projections, the Red Wings will have over $13 million in cap space and would have no problem signing the superstar to a long-term deal. However, one of the reasons they have yet to pull the trigger on the transaction is that DeBrincat may have priced himself out of their budget.

Realistically, after the team parted ways with a former first-round pick Filip Zadina last week, an opportunity to join a club on the edge of contention could prove exciting for a player betting on himself. 

Meanwhile, on Long Island, the New York Islanders have been busy re-signing their star netminder Ilya Sorokin this summer and locking up some of their core defensemen to long-term deals. Realistically, the Islanders are a few pieces away from winning the Stanley Cup, and adding someone of DeBrincat’s caliber would supercharge the quest for contention.

However, New York is playing with house money, with just over $300k space available, so paying a star player over $8 million would be quite easy with significant alterations to the current lineup. Although they may be trailing the Red Wings in what they can offer DeBrincat, they are a team on the verge of breaking through, and adding a 40-goal scorer to the lineup may assist a franchise closing in on 40 years without a championship. 

Interestingly, the only Western Conference team in the mix for DeBrincat’s services is the Anaheim Ducks, who just finished the 2022-23 season with the second-worst record. If he’s serious about going to a contender, the Ducks are far from hoisting the Stanley Cup, but with some of the game’s brightest young guns in the lineup, he would only compliment a team on the rise. 

Ultimately, the Ducks have the most projected cap space in the league at $29 million. But, with some of the team’s biggest names like Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry due contracts in the upcoming seasons, do they want to handcuff themselves for the future with a mega deal today? 

Overall, the one thing to take away from the DeBrincat situation thus far is this young kid is one of the NHL’s top goal scorers and is betting on himself to land a monster deal to find financial security. Of course, another team not previously mentioned looking to add a 40-goal scorer may emerge and offer him the deal of a lifetime. However, before anyone gets too invested in the situation, know that some teams are more serious than others, and at this stage, the deal is just being held up by some numbers. Nevertheless, what ever happens, Senators fans should expect to see DeBrincat in an opponent’s sweater this fall. 

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