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Could the Senators Flip Alex DeBrincat in a Deadline Trade?

The Ottawa Senators are struggling. Could they wind up flipping Alex DeBrincat in a trade ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline?

Elliotte Friedman noted during the recent Jeff Marek show was asked about Alex DeBrincat and whether the struggling Ottawa Senators have had any contract extension talks with the forward. DeBrincat is a pending RFA due a $9 million qualifying offer. It was believed the Senators were trading for him from Chicago in the hopes they would be competitive this season and then re-sign the player on a long-term deal. The Senators have been anything but competitive and now there’s no telling where the two sides sit on a new deal.

Friedman noted, “Periodically I’ve checked in on this and I’ve just heard that no real substantive talks have begun.” Further to that, Frank Seravalli asked during the DFO Rundown Podcast, “What do they do with him? Do they turn around and trade him?”

That idea would have been inconceivable in the offseason as the Senators loaded up and spent big money in an attempt to make the postseason. But, an injury to Josh Norris put them behind the 8-ball and being unable to land a quality top-four defenseman in a trade has seen the Senators struggle and they sit eighth in the Eastern Conference Wild Card race. They are 4-6-0 in their last 10 games and there are questions everywhere regarding this team.

Alex DeBrincat Pierre Dorion Ottawa Senators
Alex DeBrincat Pierre Dorion Ottawa Senators

Seravalli went on to say that DeBrincat might be a better player on his own than people give him credit for. The narrative was always that DeBrincat was as good as he was because he was playing with Patrick Kane. Well, Kane has struggled and DeBrincat has 39 points in 47 games. He’s down in his production, but his impact on other players is still good. “He’s gone and done it on his own,” said Seravalli.

He also notes that Ottawa has some decisions to make because he asks how many $8 million players any one team can pay. “Their cap situation starts to get really interesting,” the NHL insider notes. And, this is all assuming DeBrincat wants to sign a long-term deal with the team, something that hasn’t been determined yet.

Would the Senators Fold the Season?

Trading DeBrincat would be telling the team and the fan base that this is not the year and DeBrincat was a failed experiment. Moving him would be getting back whatever assets you possibly could, potentially taking another swing in the offseason free agency period and then trying again, hoping the team finds better defense and can stay healthy.

The team is still young and their forward mix is good. It’s the blue line that needs work and moving DeBrincat might help in that regard. All that said, it would be a tough sell to move on from DeBrincat, fold the season, and feel good about the direction of the team as new ownership comes in.

Next: Ottawa Senators’ Quick Hits: Talbot, Forsberg, Greig & Giroux

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