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The Detroit Red Wings acquired Alex DeBrincat from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for forward Dominik Kubalik, defenseman Donovan Sebrango, a conditional first-round draft pick and a 2024 fourth-round pick.
The contract is worth $7.875 million per year, which will make DeBrincat the Red Wings’ highest-paid player after captain Dylan Larkin.
DeBrincat recorded 66 points (27 goals, 39 assists) for the Ottawa Senators last season. That marks an offensive dip from his 41-goal 2021-22 campaign with the Chicago Blackhawks, but the Red Wings could be hoping he will bounce back on Larkin’s wing.
DeBrincat is entering his seventh NHL campaign. He spent five seasons with the Blackhawks before he was traded to the Senators last summer.
The Red Wings will say goodbye to Kubalik, who spent most of last season on Larkin’s line in the absence (due to injury, and then to his trade to the Boston Bruins) of Tyler Bertuzzi. Kubalik’s production and ice time, especially on the power play, declined in the latter half of the campaign.
Also packaged in the trade is Sebrango, who split last season between the AHL and ECHL, in addition to a fourth-round pick and a conditional first-rounder in the 2024 draft.
Thanks to the Bertuzzi trade, Detroit currently holds two first-round picks (its own and Boston’s) next year. Under the conditions of the DeBrincat deal, the Red Wings can choose to send the lesser of these two picks to Ottawa next year, with one condition. If the Bruins end up with a top-10 pick, they keep it, and the Red Wings wait until 2025 to complete the trade.
The loss of a 2024 or 2025 first-rounder is worth it for the Red Wings if the acquisition of DeBrincat helps get this team over the postseason hump.
Despite a promising first half of the 2022-23 season that had Detroit sitting in a playoff spot by February, the Red Wings ended up missing a seventh consecutive postseason in part due to the team’s lack of top-25 NHL scorers.
Larkin came the closest he ever has to that mark last season, putting up a career-high 79 points (32 goals, 47 assists, and good for 34th in the league).
The Red Wings have committed to building around Larkin, whose eight-year contract kicks in next season. They need to find him a linemate who can help him climb the list of the NHL’s top scorers. DeBrincat, who helped his former Chicago linemate Patrick Kane rack up 92 points in 2021-22, could be that winger.