Alex DeBrincat, Senators Playing Wait-And-See On Next Contract

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Alex DeBrincat, Senators Playing Wait-And-See On Next Contract

Chicago Blackhawks

Last summer, the Ottawa Senators made the bold move of trading for Blackhawks’ star forward Alex DeBrincat. Their hope was that he could add his 40-goal prowess to their collection of talented young players and improve the team’s playoff chances.

The Sens finished this season in sixth place in the Atlantic Division, six points back of the final wild card team in the Eastern Conference.

For his part, DeBrincat appeared in all 82 games but scored only 27 goals — his lowest goal total in a full NHL season (he finished the 2019-20 season with 18 goals in 70 games). Most fans in Ottawa have been happy to voice their unhappiness with DeBrincat’s production this season; they thought they were getting the player who scored 83 goals in 142 games over the two previous seasons.

One of the reasons the Blackhawks decided to move on from DeBrincat was his looming $9 million qualifying offer, which is due this summer. DeBrincat is a restricted free agent just one season away from UFA status. And, with the Blackhawks entering an intentional rebuild, the assets they were able to bring back and the reality that paying DeBrincat that kind of money on a bad team made sense.

The Senators held their exit interviews on Monday, and things look increasingly interesting between DeBrincat and the front office in Ottawa. It doesn’t help that the team is currently for sale, though reports have indicated that process could sort itself out soon.

Bruce Garrioch also reported DeBrincat indicated he will let the team know of his intentions before the 2023 NHL Draft in late-June.

DeBrincat’s 27-goal season likely gives the Senators some pause in offering him at least $9 million on his next contract; it was his first season not riding shotgun with Patrick Kane in Chicago. And a long-term deal likely starts at that number.

So we’ll now have to wait and see who ends up buying the Sens (my hope is the group including Ryan Reynolds wins the bidding), and if DeBrincat wants to be in Ottawa longer than one more year. He could wind up being one of the more significant players traded in consecutive drafts if he tells the team he wants to test free agency in 2024.

As a reminder, the players selected with the picks the Blackhawks received from Ottawa are Kevin Korchinski and Paul Ludwinski. Both players have signed their entry-level contracts, and Korchinski is our No. 1 prospect in the organization right now.

Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab