NHL insider Elliotte Friedman dropped his latest ’32 Thoughts’ column this morning and there was a healthy serving of Alex DeBrincat chatter within it. So let’s try to unpack it before I get ready for my 4th of July Party this afternoon.
Friedman admitted that while a few months ago he didn’t consider the Blackhawks trading the 24-year-old winger a possibility, he now believes that it’s becoming increasingly likely by the day. We know that Friedman reported that the Blackhawks have turned down a hefty offer for DeBrincat that would have included multiple first-rounders.
More recently, Friedman had this to say about the DeBrincat’s availability, the chain reaction of a DeBrincat trade, and how it might affect the futures of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane (and he even dropped an interesting nugget of information regarding Kirby Dach):
“A few months ago, I refused to believe DeBrincat would be traded. Now, with each passing day, the scales tip more in favour of it happening. One player made a good argument. “He’s two years from unrestricted free agency. If this rebuild is going to be as painful as we think, is he going to want to stay there? He wants to win.” Chicago has to know that, too. If it does happen, the bigger question might be how Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews feel. The Blackhawks have not made them available, preferring that if they wish to be moved, they come forward and make it known. There’s a way to manage this, but a DeBrincat trade for futures might just do it — although I hesitate to speak for them. There is also a lot of research being done on Kirby Dach.”
We know that the New Jersey Devils have been a team linked to DeBrincat, and New Jersey GM Tom Fitzgerald has made it clear that the No. 2 pick in next week’s NHL Entry Draft is available. Still, it’s been two decades since the second overall pick has been traded, so the likelihood of that happening is a long shot at best. Right?
We can now gather from Friedman’s reporting a few days ago that Kyle Davidson’s ask for DeBrincat likely starts with three first-rounders and a prospect. Will New Jersey be willing to part with the No. 2 pick, two additional first-rounders, and an intriguing prospect? Only time will tell. Friedman also points out that a trade for DeBrincat would also include an expensive long-term extension on New Jersey’s end. Another factor to consider.
Devils fans are drooling over the possibility of an Alex DeBrincat or a J.T. Miller, but you’ve got to know you can sign them, and those won’t be inexpensive extensions. (Plus, that kind of move hands incredible leverage to the agent).
As Friedman points out if DeBrincat is traded, does that change things for Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane? Jonathan Toews’ future in Chicago seems dim at best as is, so DeBrincat being traded doesn’t paint a picture any brighter for 19.
Patrick Kane made it clear to us at the season-ending presser at the United Center that he loves playing with DeBrincat. He went as far as to insinuate that DeBrincat being in Chicago is a reason for him to stick around through a rebuild, one that Kane hoped would be an accelerated one.
“I’ve developed some chemistry with DeBrincat over the years, so if he’s here and he’s a big piece, that makes it easier for me too, right, because I’m playing with him every day and he’s such a good player, and it makes it fun to be out there with him. We’ll see how it shakes out, though.”
I think if DeBrincat is eventually dealt, the Blackhawks will move to trade Kane and Toews. Or, an even more ideal situation for Kyle Davidson will arise; Kane and Toews will ask to be traded, which makes it easier for Davidson to deal away two legends in Chicago.
Friedman ended his thoughts on the Blackhawks by mentioning that “a lot of research” is being done on Kirby Dach. The former third-overall selection by the Blackhawks is coming off a disappointing campaign in Chicago, so I can’t imagine there’s a ton of trade value there. Still, maybe a team thinks they can right the ship in his development, which was undoubtedly rushed by the former regime in Chicago. Perhaps Dach could head to a team like New Jersey with DeBrincat to make the Blackhawks’ steep asking price swallowable.
Friedman also added another team to the field of potential DeBrincat suitors by mentioning that the Philadelphia Flyers are one of the teams that have called the Blackhawks and made a trade offer for DeBrincat:
“The Flyers are one of the teams that have legitimately pitched Chicago on DeBrincat — more than just tire-kicking — and they’ve tested the market on many of their players. I’ve always assumed they were a legit landing spot for Gaudreau. It may be a draft-week smokescreen, but are they considering a late-game audible?”
The more teams that join the field of potential suitors, the better for Kyle Davidson and the Blackhawks, who would love a bidding war over DeBrincat between now and Thursday. The Flyers have the No. 5 pick in the first round of Thursday’s draft. They also have a first-rounder next season to barker with. However, their 2024 first-rounder belongs to the Florida Panthers (due to the Owen Tippett trade last season).
The next few days will undoubtedly be telling as it pertains to Kyle Davidson’s vision for his rebuild. Until then, let’s enjoy the holiday the next couple of days, as I’m sure the Blackhawks will be holding off on any blockbusters until the holiday is over.