Ottawa Senators forward Alex DeBrincat has received major headlines over the NHL offseason. The talented forward has refused to sign a long-term contract with the Sens and will be on the move for the second consecutive summer.
The Senators want to deal the former two-time, 40-goal scorer before the league starts its salary arbitration hearings from July 20 through August 4. If they don’t move him by then, DeBrincat’s value will plummet as he’ll be locked into a one-year deal and have no lengthy contract extension. That fact means rumors about the high-scoring winger have picked up in recent days.
Capitals center and former two-time teammate of DeBrincat, Dylan Strome, added his own fuel to those fires. He changed his Instagram profile photo to one of him and DeBrincat celebrating the OHL Championship they won together with the Erie Otters in 2017.
— xavier (@dicnowder) July 9, 2023
DeBrincat and Strome played three seasons (2014-17) with one another on the Otters. They then reunited in the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks for four seasons from 2018 through 2022. DeBrincat had a career year with Strome centering him on the 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 were such an “inseparable duo.”
The timing of the change by Strome has raised some eyebrows as just over a week ago, hockey insider Elliotte Friedman stated that he believed the Caps could be potential trade suitor for DeBrincat. That report tracks with what general manager Brian MacLellan has reiterated since last season ended, he wants to make a change in the teams top-six forward group.
“I’ve wondered about Washington,” Friedman said then. “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.’”
Since that report, any noise around the Caps and DeBrincat has been nonexistent. The only teams directly mentioned to be in the running to acquire the forward have been the Detroit Red Wings and New York Islanders. That news came from Friedman’s podcasting partner, Jeff Marek, on Wednesday.
Saturday, Detroit hockey reporter Kevin Allen made an appearance on the X’s & BrO’s Michigan sports radio show and spoke about the situation from a Red Wings perspective.
“I think there’s a deal in place,” Allen said. “The hold up now is Yzerman and Debrincat’s camp can’t agree on a contract.”
TSN’s Darren Dreger reported earlier this week what could be the sticking point in those negotiations. DeBrincat is apparently seeking a cap hit just a shade under $9 million over eight seasons and some teams have balked at that price.
Whether the Red Wings and DeBrincat get that contract talk sorted or not remains to be seen. Ottawa will surely want it done quick though as added on to that potential upcoming salary arbitration hearing, they are reportedly waiting to bring in free agent winger Vladimir Tarasenko once Debrincat is off their books.
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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