What would Alex DeBrincat’s potential trade look like for the Black Hawks?

With the Stanley Cup Final and the 2022 NHL Draft officially approaching now less than a month away, we’re starting to enter the territory of the commercial rumor season. In fact, we may already find ourselves there.

The Blackhawks have announced that they are listening to trade shows of anyone other than Patrick Kane, Seth Jones or Jonathan Toews as they embark on rebuilding. Not surprising, given that these three players are completely protected from no-trade.

As we wrote on Tuesday, this means that a player like Alex DeBrincat could attract some serious interest from other teams this off-season, and it looks like a two-time 40-goal striker’s deal may not be as far-fetched as originally thought. According to Frank Serravalli of the Daily Vesuvius, the question appears to be “when” not “if” the Black Hawks will move Debrinks.

Some reasons why this is not entirely shocking:

  • 1. The Blackhawks don’t have a first-round pick this year, and outside of Kane, DeBrincat is the only player on the roster who can return a massive amount and help revamp a pipeline that doesn’t exceed Lukas Reichel’s high expectations.
  • 2. If the Blackhawks are looking at a long-term timeline here, it doesn’t make sense to list multiple players as untouchable. Storing future assets should be the priority, as that starts the process more than delays it.
  • 3. By the time the Blackhawks are ready to be legitimate permanent Stanley Cup contenders once again, DeBrincat could be in his thirties, which is hard to imagine but a real possibility. (Look at how long it takes to rebuild Detroit and they’re doing it right.)
  • 4. If the Black Hawks are going to be bad next season, why shouldn’t they be really bad? The top loading of the 2023 NHL Draft class, titled Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli and Matvei Michkov. These are players who change the franchise.

So all of this begs the question, what would a potential Blackhawk payoff on a DeBrincat deal look like? It’s an interesting debate because there aren’t many recent trade comparisons that fit this specific situation.

DeBrincat is 24 years old and about to enter the final year of his $6.4 million deal. He deserves a big raise, with his next contract likely to be in the $9 million a year range and well worth it, considering only seven players have scored more goals than him since entering the NHL in 2017. DeBrincat also has some clout as a restricted suspended agent Free next year with arbitration rights.

When the Blackhawks replaced Brandon Hagel to Tampa Bay for a pair of first-round picks and two NHL players, it was a huge payoff primarily because of player value. Hagel was on track to finish with over 30 goals, and Lightning essentially got him a $1.5 million deal for what they hope will be three long qualifying rounds.

If you are a team that wants to acquire DeBrincat, not only do you have to be prepared to part with important assets but you must have plenty of room to fit their contract in the books. Additionally, the size of the payout will likely depend on whether the potential trade is off to an extension, as was the case in Chicago when Jones traded off Columbus.

Despite the different circumstances, the Blackhawks probably wouldn’t take an offer seriously unless it looked a bit like Hagel’s package, although you have to imagine GM Kyle Davidson would make a high pick from the first round and/or a possibility of Level A is a priority. (The first two runs Chicago received from Tampa Bay likely came later.)

The team to watch might be the New Jersey Devils, who are said to be open to trading a second general pick, already have one of the best farm systems in the league and have more than $25 million in expected cover space next season. I’m sure they would want to find a permanent, long-term winger for Jack Hughes and DeBrincat would definitely be an ideal candidate.

While the Blackhawks can choose to wait until next year’s trading deadline to consider transferring the DeBrincat, the Offseason is the best time to be a hit because more teams can get involved and manage the money to make it a success. The deadline can be missed or missed depending on the market and capital space, among other factors.

(Just look at the disappointing return Ottawa got for Mark Stone on deadline day in February 2019: the prospect of a high-end defensive man in Eric Branstrom, a second-round pick and a sixth-place finish in the no longer in the NHL, Oscar Lindbergh. This would not have been a comeback Relationship with the Stone player and more about Ottawa not having much clout, because Stone was willing to sign a long-term extension with Vegas and eventually did so for eight years at a price of US$9.5 million.

Buckle up, Chicago, because the next few weeks leading up to the July 7-8 NHL draft could get interesting.

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