Top Trades, Landing Spots for Blackhawks Forward Alex DeBrincat

Kyle Davidson indicated it was time for the Chicago Blackhawks to engage in a rebuild when he took over as their general manager on March 1. Since then, the future of Alex DeBrincat has become the growing focus of media trade speculation.

Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli has DeBrincat atop his list of offseason trade targets. He believes it’s a matter of “when” rather than “if” the 24-year-old left winger gets moved. Seravalli considers him the Blackhawks’ best trade chip to land the type of return that will enable them to stockpile future assets.

Coming off his second 40-goal season in his fifth year in the NHL, DeBrincat is a gifted offensive winger. He would draw considerable interest from teams in need of scoring punch.

DeBrincat’s contract is another reason he’s become the subject of trade conjecture. He has a year remaining on his deal with an annual average value of $6.4 million and will be a restricted free agent next summer with arbitration rights. Because he’ll earn an actual salary of $9 million for 2022-23, it’ll cost the Blackhawks that much to qualify his rights.

Speaking of free agency, DeBrincat will also be a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility next summer. If the Blackhawks’ rebuilding process appears to be lengthy, he could opt for a one-year deal that bridges the gap until his UFA eligibility and then sign with a playoff contender. Davidson could also decide he’s too expensive to re-sign and shop him for the best possible return.

What kind of return would Davidson seek if he puts DeBrincat on the trade block? NBC Sports’ Adam Gretz suggested the asking price could include a first-round pick, a “really good” prospect or young NHL player and perhaps “some NHL roster filler.” The Blackhawks traded their first-rounder in this year’s draft last summer, so Davidson could be keen to acquire one.

The best trade partners for Davidson would be teams that have depth in draft picks, prospects and young talent to meet his asking price. They must also have sufficient salary-cap space to take on DeBrincat’s contract for 2022-23 and be able to sign him to a new deal next summer.

Here’s a look at five possible landing spots for DeBrincat and the type of return the Blackhawks could seek. Feel free to express your thoughts on this topic in the comments section below.

 

Detroit Red Wings

Under the stewardship of general manager Steve Yzerman, the Detroit Red Wings have been patiently building with young talent. However, it’s been six years since they last qualified for the playoffs. It may be time for Yzerman to make a major move for someone like DeBrincat who could help put his team back in postseason contention.

The Wings already have two top-six left wingers in Tyler Bertuzzi and Jakub Vrana. Bertuzzi, however, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer and could be reluctant to ink a contract extension. With a 25th-ranked 2.77 goals per game this season, Yzerman must add more punch to his offense.

Maybe a deal can be made with the Blackhawks involving a one-for-one swap of Bertuzzi for DeBrincat. Given the former’s UFA status next year, however, the Hawks could prefer a package that includes the Red Wings’ 2022 first-round pick (eighth overall), one of their top prospects and perhaps young winger (and 2018 first-round pick) Filip Zadina.

The Wings have $35.8 million in cap space for 2022-23 with 15 players under contract. That gives Yzerman more than enough room to add DeBrincat and still make other additions as needed. He would also have enough in 2023-24 to ink the winger to a lucrative long-term extension.

 

Los Angeles Kings

The Los Angeles Kings exceeded expectations this season by reaching the playoffs for the first time in four years. General manager Rob Blake was rebuilding with young talent stockpiled within his system. However, last summer’s acquisitions of veteran forwards Phillip Danault and Viktor Arvidsson played key roles in getting the Kings into the postseason.

Blake could be tempted to add another established player like DeBrincat. With 2.87 goals per game (20th overall), they might not have qualified for the 2022 playoffs without their solid goaltending and defensive play. A sniper like DeBrincat alongside Danault or captain Anze Kopitar on the top two lines could be a welcome catalyst to the offense.

Sitting with the 19th overall pick in this year’s draft, Blake could offer that selection as part of a package for a skilled young scorer such as DeBrincat. If he’s reluctant to part with it, he’s got considerable depth in prospects to draw upon to tempt the Blackhawks. Blake probably won’t part with top prospect Quinton Byfield, but perhaps he’d consider including someone such as Brandt Clarke or Alex Turcotte.

The Kings have $19.9 million in cap space with 15 players under contract and restricted free-agent winger Adrian Kempe as their most expensive to re-sign. Blake might have to clear some additional cap space in a separate deal to comfortably absorb DeBrincat’s $6.4 million and afford a long-term extension.

Author: Lucy Green