Left winger Alex DeBrincat would be one of the top talents up for sale on the trade market this summer if the Ottawa Senators do indeed put him out there — and it certainly seems that way considering the star forward’s desire to leave.
The 25-year-old is a two-time 40-goal scorer and has posted at least 27 tallies in five of his first six NHL seasons — his first five campaigns came with the Chicago Blackhawks before being sent to the Canadian capital last year.
Multiple teams — including the Anaheim Ducks and Washington Capitals — are believed to be in on him, but it’s the New York Islanders who appear to be gaining the most steam in recent days.
Per multiple reports, the Islanders have had conversations with the Senators about potentially acquiring DeBrincat, who is a restricted free agent after the completion of a contract that paid him an average annual value (AAV) of $6.4 million over the previous three years.
After announcing the signings of their key unrestricted free agents Pierre Engvall, Scott Mayfield, and Semyon Varlamov along with an eight-year extension for star goalie Ilya Sorokin, Islanders president and general manager Lou Lamoriello further rose the temperature of the DeBrincat hot stove on Saturday by saying he will look to improve on the trade market.
“That’s exactly where the next step would be,” Lamoriello said. “We’ve signed the free agents with the dollars that we had available and now to get better, as everyone tries to do, it’ll be a hockey trade.”
The Islanders had opened up approximately $9.5 million in cap space by trading Josh Bailey and his $5 million cap hit to the Blackhawks in a pure salary dump. Engvall’s $3 million AAV, Mayfield’s $3.5 million AAV, and Varlamov’s $2.75 AAV leave New York with a projected $1.086 million, per cap friendly.
That means Lamoriello will have to shift significant money in a potential trade for DeBrincat and it’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s name that has popped up.
The veteran center carries a $5 million cap hit for the next three seasons, which would provide major relief for an Islanders team that would have to try and sign DeBrincat to a deal that will more than likely be worth more than that $6.4 million AAV of his previous deal.
Acquiring a winger of that caliber would provide the Islanders with a long-awaited, bona fide first line that would feature Bo Horvat at center, DeBrincat on the left, and potentially Mathew Barzal on the right. Barzal made the shift to right-wing from his natural position at center after the Islanders acquired Horvat at the trade deadline from the Vancouver Canucks.