The Ottawa Senators have acquired Alex Debrincat, one of the top youth scorers in the NHL today, in a blockbuster trade with the Chicago Blackhawks.
In return, the Senators are sending the Blackhawks three draft picks, including the seventh-overall pick in Thursday’s NHL draft. The Blackhawks will also acquire pick number 39 in the 2022 draft and a third-round pick in 2024.
“The acquisition of Alex brings immediate and additional firepower to the group ahead of us,” said Senator General Manager Pierre Dorian in a statement. “He is a dynamic forward who is a scoring threat in the offensive zone. He has great vision, exceptional skill and a quality shot, which helps him score from almost any part of the ice. He is a consistent performer. And is an underrated playmaker that Senators fans will definitely enjoy watching the play in Ottawa.”
Debrincat, 24, already has two 41-goal runs in just five seasons, including last season, when he set a career-high 78 points. Listed at only 5-foot-7, he fell in the second round in the 2016 draft despite initially racking up points in the OHL and remains a scoring threat in the NHL.
He has one more season remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $6.4 million and will be a banned free agent in the summer of 2023. However, Debrincat’s salary will be $9 million in the 2022-23 season – the same number as his qualification offer next summer – meaning he has a major contract extension in the future.
The move is the first significant transaction made by Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson as the club enters a complete rebuild. With this trade, the Blackhawks now have a pick in the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft, as their own pick (No. 6) was traded with the Columbus Blue Jackets in a deal for Seth Jones a year earlier.
The Blackhawks are reportedly projecting business interest on several major players, including Kirby Dachts and Patrick Kane.
“We thank Alex for his tireless dedication to the Blackhawks organization over the past five seasons and wish him all the best in Ottawa,” Davidson said in a statement. “Trading in with a player of Alex’s caliber was an incredibly difficult decision. We feel like this move sets the Blackhawks up for future success by giving us additional flexibility and future talent. Round one for tonight Securing Key’s pick and an additional second round pick tomorrow allows us to solidify our potential base with highly rated players who we expect to be difference makers in the years to come.
“While we haven’t had a first choice in the draft to date, our Scouting staff is anticipating this scenario. I’m clear in my desire to go to the first round, and we’re excited to go ahead and pick up this evening.”
Earlier in the day, Sportsnet’s Elliot Friedman reported that the Senator and the Sabers had a deal that would have sent Matt Murray to Buffalo, but Murray blocked the move with his no-trade clause. That trade would reportedly involve a seventh-overall pick, which the senators then used to acquire Debrincat.