Detroit Red Wings could entice Ottawa Senators in potential Alex DeBrincat trade

Detroit Free Press

Alex DeBrincat has feasted on the Detroit Red Wings over the course of his career.

How about seeing him wearing their iconic “Winged Wheel” uniform?

The Ottawa Senators have to decide what to do with the Farmington Hills native, who is eligible to become a restricted free agent July 1. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported this week the Senators — who are in the midst of being sold — are doing due diligence on exploring trading the 25-year-old forward.

DeBrincat joined the Senators last summer, when he was traded by the team that drafted him, the Chicago Blackhawks, for picks No. 7 and 39 in the 2022 draft, and a third-round pick in 2024.

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DeBrincat’s resume shows his scoring prowess: 41 goals each in 2018-19 and 2021-22; 32 goals in 50 games in 2020-21 (the pandemic-shortened season); at least 20 goals in five of six NHL seasons. He has 187 goals and 373 points in 450 games. He has 11 goals and 30 points in 23 career games against the Wings.

DeBrincat (5 feet 7, 165 pounds) is coming off a three-year, $19.2 million contract that carried a $6.4 million annual average value. His qualifying offer is set at $9 million. He is one year away from unrestricted free agency. Friedman states the Senators are “considering all options, everything from taking him to arbitration to a trade.”

There is bound to be interest for the winger, given his offensive numbers. But perhaps the last trade scenario the Senators are likely to take is one that sends DeBrincat to another team in the Atlantic Division, which they share with the Wings. For them to sell their fans on sending a proven scorer to a rebuilding rival, the return would have to be astronomical. The Blackhawks jettisoned DeBrincat as part of a plan to reset their rebuild — and lucked out in getting the No. 1 pick in the draft later this month — but they found an offer they liked outside their conference.

DeBrincat’s appeal, though, is multifold. He shoots right, as do Wings forwards Lucas Raymond and David Perron. Raymond, 21, projects to be a long-term part of the Wings’ rebuild, while Perron, 35, is entering the last year of his contract, and, depending on where the Wings are at a next season’s trade deadline, could be flipped for a pick.

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DeBrincat’s age puts him right in line with Dylan Larkin (26) and Robby Fabbri (27), “older” core players who are reaching their prime.

Wings general manager Steve Yzerman has significant draft capital headed into the June 28-29 draft in Nashville, Tennessee: He holds his first pick at No. 9 overall, and the rest come in at Nos. 17, 41, 42, 43, 73, 117, 137, 169, and 201.

It would be counterproductive to give up a young player in return — the Wings need players like Raymond, Simon Edvinsson and Marco Kasper, recent first-round picks vital to building a solid foundation towards competitiveness.

Yzerman made a splash last summer when he added Perron, Andrew Copp, Ben Chiarot, Olli Määttä and Ville Husso in an effort to boost the Wings. DeBrincat would add to the scoring — even with all the additions, the Wings ranked in the bottom third in goals scored — but convincing the Senators, if they do trade DeBrincat, to send him to Detroit would require a price that might not make sense.

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter.

Her latest book, “On the Clock: Behind the Scenes with the Detroit Red Wings at the NHL Draft,” is available from  Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.

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