Washington Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan reiterated his interest in securing a top-six forward this offseason at the draft in Nashville on Thursday. During that presser, he seemed to indicate that the team was already working on a trade for that top-six talent.
One name that would fit that billing is the Ottawa Senators’ Alex DeBrincat. In the latest episode of the 32 Thoughts podcast that came out on Friday, hockey insider Elliotte Friedman mentioned the Caps as a potential landing spot for the scoring winger.
Per the 32 Thoughts podcast:
I wanted to talk about DeBrincat. We talked about DeBrincat and our default was that it would be Detroit. I don’t think so anymore. As I was leaving the draft on Thursday, I was getting a lot of people telling me that they don’t think it’s going to work in Detroit – it just doesn’t appear to be a match.
I think Anaheim had looked in but I was told ‘not likely’. I heard Anaheim was interested though. I know the Islanders had checked in and they’ve got room now. The Islanders have room for a Tarasenko or a DeBrincat or whatever they want to do there. Although I think they are still trying to get [Scott] Mayfield signed. The Islanders do have some room now.
I’ve wondered about Washington. Can DeBrincat and Ovechkin both work together on the power play? Ovechkin kinda has earned his spot in Washington there. It’s tough to displace him. People started to say to me, ‘Start looking in some new directions for DeBrincat.’ I know about Dallas, but Dallas doesn’t have a lot of room.
The 25-year-old DeBrincat, a former teammate of Dylan Strome’s both in junior and in the NHL, is at odds with Ottawa as he does not want to sign a long-term contract with them and is a restricted free agent this summer. In theory, DeBrincat could be brought back to Ottawa on a one-year deal (with a potential salary arbitration hearing) but that would turn him into an unrestricted free agent during the 2024 offseason and tremendously reduce his potential trade value. The Sens would also risk losing him for nothing.
Ottawa general manager Pierre Dorion has admitted that the team does not want to risk that and they have been forced to shop the talented winger.
Dorion says DeBrincat hasn't asked for a trade, but has refused to sign a long-term contract and the club has to look to move him. #Sens
— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) June 27, 2023
DeBrincat was acquired by Ottawa just last offseason in a July move. The Senators sent the Chicago Blackhawks the seventh and 39th overall draft selections in that year’s draft as well as a third-round pick in the 2023 draft for his services.
DeBrincat was a two-time, 40-goal scorer and also posted two 75-plus point seasons in Chicago. His first year in Ottawa wasn’t as productive as those years but he still managed to record 66 points (27g, 39a) while playing in all 82 regular season games. 11 of his 27 goals and 30 of his 66 points came on the power play.
The Caps would be able to spark instant chemistry within their lineup if they were able to secure DeBrincat due to his past ties playing with Strome. The two played three seasons (2014-17) with one another in the OHL on the Erie Otters. They were then reunited in Chicago for four seasons from 2018 through 2022. DeBrincat had a career year with Strome centering him on the team’s first line, posting 41 goals and 78 points during the 2021-22 season. The Blackhawks even made salt & pepper shakers of the two players because they are such an “inseparable duo.”
DeBrincat plays both wings and outside of Alex Ovechkin would be the only player on the Caps to ever score 40 or more goals in a single season. He will likely command a cap hit that would necessitate the Caps moving out a contract currently on their roster. CapFriendly projects them to have $7,313,333 in cap space and they still need to re-sign Martin Fehervary.
Headline photo: @brinksy97/Instagram
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