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Senators Open to Exploring Multiple Options For Alex DeBrincat

The Ottawa Senators would prefer a long-term deal for Alex DeBrincat, but it sounds like they are open to exploring multiple options.

According to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said his club is prepared to discuss an eight-year contract extension with winger Alex DeBrincat. However, because DeBrincat hasn’t made a decision on his future yet, the Senators are open to other potential options in an attempt to keep the forward with the team.

DeBrincat is a 25-year-old restricted free agent who has huge potential upside and the Senators want as part of their core as they try to make a run into the 2023-24 playoff picture and eventually become a perenially competitive team. Assuming they don’t get some kind of longer-term extension done, it will cost the Senators $9 million to qualify DeBrincat’s rights for 2023-24. Dorion revealed he’s had preliminary talks with DeBrincat’s agent and said the club could take him to arbitration to try and take as much as 15 percent off his salary, if things get that far.

Elliotte Friedman called it cut-rate arbitration and reported in his latest 32 Thoughts column:

“If a team elects to go through this process, it can argue for a salary reduction — which can’t be lower than 85 percent of the previous season’s salary. When New Jersey traded for Timo Meier, multiple sources said they believed that’s exactly what the Devils would do if: a) they kept the winger in 2023-24 and b) he hadn’t signed an extension. So, in theory, Meier could drop from $10 million in 2022-23 to $8.5 million, and DeBrincat from $9 million to $7.65 million.”

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

Friedman pointed out that Colorado went down this road with Ryan O’Reilly in 2014, before agreeing on a two-year extension. The problem, as the NHL insider points out, is that this is a process that typically festers with both sides and isn’t conducive to a long-term marriage where both sides remain happy. The risk from the Senators’ perspective is that they offend DeBrincat by going this route and he immediately makes up his mind that he’s not destined to stick around for the long haul, having been bitter about a pay deduction.

Could the Senators Trade DeBrincat?

The final alternative would be to consider trading DeBrincat if he’s not interested in signing with them. There would be a market for his services, even if other teams were worried about pending contract negotiations. A trade would likely happen around the NHL Entry Draft, which means it would be coming up sooner than later.

Next: Bruins Looking at Big Trade to Keep Tyler Bertuzzi on Roster

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