The start of the Chicago Blackhawks’ meltdown is here. After rumors and disbelief that new GM Kyle Davidson would actually trade star winger Alex DeBrincat, the 24-year-old is heading to Ottawa. The Senators parted with their first and second-round picks in this weekend’s draft (7th and 39th overall, respectively), plus a third-round pick in 2024. This kickstarted what should be an exciting offseason for Ottawa, a team with a ton of cap space looking to exit a rebuild.
Saying that a team got fleeced when they received the seventh-overall pick is unusual, but it certainly applies here. The last time that pick was traded for players was in 2017 when the Coyotes dealt it to the Rangers with Tony DeAngelo for center Derek Stepan and goalie Antti Raanta. Of course, the trade market has changed since then, but the return is somewhat comparable, given what DeAngelo soon became on the ice. The Coyotes got two veterans. The Senators brought in a young star with two seasons of more than 40 goals already under his belt.
This move doesn’t push Ottawa into a playoff spot yet. However, they still have the cap space to get wild, especially if Matt Murray is unloaded. With the Bruins injured and potentially falling off, Ottawa believes that they have a shot. Whether or not they truly do, this is undoubtedly a positive for the franchise. DeBrincat is dynamic. Since his rookie season of 2017-18, DeBrincat has scored 160 goals, tied with Steven Stamkos for the eighth-most in the league. For the 2022-23 season, DeBrincat has a cap hit of only $6.4 million. For this upcoming season, that is very easy to take on. After that, however, DeBrincat is a restricted free agent. He will command a huge extension. Even then, Ottawa could flip him next year, possibly for even more.
Chicago made a big jump for Seth Jones at last year’s draft but after a poor season, they are ready to do a rebuild, for real this time. DeBrincat and 2019 3rd-overall pick Kirby Dach are both on the trade market. Since the Blackhawks did not have a first-round pick (Columbus has the sixth pick from the Jones trade), Davidson gets an opportunity to put his mark on the team with two high picks. Still, the return is underwhelming. DeBrincat has been a superstar since he was a second-round pick in 2016. Not to mention, he is still very young and would not be old by the time the Blackhawks are aiming to be good again. Having a good player on a bad team isn’t the end of the world. Next on Davidson’s list to ship out has to be veterans Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Both are entering the final year of their contract.
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