The Detroit Red Wings have acquired Alex DeBrincat from the Ottawa Senators and have signed him to a four-year contract worth an average annual value (AAV) of $7.875 million. The Ottawa Senators received Dominik Kubalik, prospect Donovan Sebrango, a conditional first-round pick in 2024, and the Red Wings’ 2024 fourth-round pick, which completes the long-awaited deal.
After weeks of rumors and speculation, DeBrincat ended up in his hometown, and Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman was able to lock him up while avoiding a long-term deal, which reports indicated he wasn’t comfortable with.
Related: THW’s Free Agency Tracker
DeBrincat was acquired by the Senators just over a year ago at the 2022 NHL Entry Draft and there were high hopes for him as he rounded out the group’s top-six, but with a mix of team injuries and a down year for DeBrincat, by his standards, the fit just wasn’t right. The Senators expressed interest in retaining DeBrincat on a long-term deal but wouldn’t meet the dollar value he was demanding.
After scoring 27 goals and 66 points in the 2022-23 season, the Senators couldn’t meet the contractual demands, which also led to Yzerman not willing to go to a full eight-year deal. This contract gives DeBrincat four years of security where he can play for a raise, while also giving the Red Wings flexibility as it is a relatively short deal and a reasonable AAV.
DeBrincat Fits Well With Red Wings’ Top Line
The expectation will be that DeBrincat slides into the top line with Dylan Larkin and Lucas Raymond. These three have a play style that complements each other well and will be a great place for him to regain the 40-goal form that he has shown twice before. The Red Wings needed to add more goalscoring, and with this trade, they did just that.
While the Red Wings are sending Kubalik to the Senators, DeBrincat is a significant upgrade to their top-six. Having the firepower that he brings is significant as he improves not only the top line but the entire team. While he doesn’t drive his line like a traditional $8 million player would, his finishing is fantastic and he brings a level of energy the Red Wings needed.
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The Red Wings only losing Kubalik off the main roster is a success for Yzerman. They were busy in free agency the last two seasons and added a lot of depth options. Having the depth options that Detroit has gives them the freedom of switching up the lines if need be. DeBrincat can bring the scoring touch to the middle-six if they need a spark, and isn’t afraid of double-shifting as he spent a lot of time on both power play units in Ottawa.
Senators Acquire Scoring Depth and Picks
The biggest piece coming from Detroit is undoubtedly Kubalik. The Senators will hope to see him slide into DeBrincat’s slot on the second line and play with Josh Norris and Drake Batherson. Kubalik, while not an even replacement for DeBrincat, is no slouch. Last season, which was his fourth in the NHL, he registered 20 goals and 45 points in 81 games, coming up just shy of his career high of 46 which he set in his rookie campaign.
During that rookie year, Kubalik scored 30 goals and 46 points in 68 games for the Chicago Blackhawks. It is unlikely he reaches that height again as he has been trending closer to a 20-goal player since then, but he brings solid value to the group. He is entering the final year of his contract and will be making $2.5 million against the cap. The Senators will likely look to bring him back if the fit is good with this forward group. Kubalik finished out his year with a great performance at the IIHF World Hockey Championship, recording 12 points in eight games.
Sebrango is a defensive prospect taken in the third round of the 2020 Draft who spent time with the Grand Rapid Griffins in the American Hockey League and the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL last season. He adds even more depth to the strong left side of the Senators’ defensive pipeline.
The pair of picks the Senators received are also quite important as the prospect pool is starting to run thin after so many players have made the jump to the NHL. The conditional first-round pick will either be the Boston Bruins or Red Wings’ 2024 pick, and the Red Wings have the ability to decide which pick it will be ahead of the draft. With both teams having playoff aspirations, the expectation is that it will land in the back half of the draft. Acquiring an additional fourth-round pick is always a bonus as well.
After all of the conflicting reports, rumors, and stories surrounding DeBrincat in Ottawa, the deal has finally been done. The long-awaited trade is a win for both sides on the surface and could develop into a great deal for both teams as time passes depending on how DeBrincat performs in Detroit and how Kubalik fits in with Ottawa.