Photo credit:© Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
The Ottawa Senators somehow got ripped off for the same player twice
By Noah Strang7 months ago
The Alex DeBrincat saga is finally over as after months of speculation the diminutive winger has been traded from the Ottawa Senators to the Detroit Red Wings. At first glance, the return looks relatively pedestrian for the Senators with just one premium asset, a conditional 2o24 first-round pick, included in the full package coming back.
For the Senators, this marks the end of the DeBrincat experiment which can clearly be graded as a huge failure. The team from the nation’s capital gave up a 2022 first-round pick, a 2022 second-round pick, and a 2023 third-round pick to acquire DeBrincat last summer. He only played for the team for a year and then was flipped for a much less impressive package.
The Blackhawks used those draft picks to help kickstart their rebuild, adding defenceman Kevin Korchinski with the Senators’ 2022 first-round pick. He had 73 points in 54 WHL games this season as an offensive-minded blueliner and is one of the most promising prospects in Chicago’s organization.
For a team that has done quite a strong job at rebuilding, the DeBrincat saga marks a clear miss that will hamper their roster building abilities. It’s another warning for teams looking to accelerate their rebuilds. While it wasn’t a terrible bet by the Senators, DeBrincat was a two-time 40 goal scorer after all, the way it played out looks quite bad on management.
The Blackhawks trade
When the Senators originally traded for DeBrincat, they were acquiring a two-time 40-goal scorer that was still in his early-20s. There are not many players across the league that fit that description and even fewer that are available on the trade market. The chance to add a legitimate top-line forward to their roster full of budding talent was too much for the Senators to pass up.
However, the price that the Senators paid for DeBrincat was quite high, especially when compared to deals involving other wingers across the league. Canucks fans are well aware as they try to gauge market value for their own wingers that the value of the position group is quite depressed. Despite that, the Senators still gave up the 2022 seventh overall selection, another 2022 top-40 pick, and a 2023 third-rounder.
While it’s true that DeBrincat was much younger and more proven than the other wingers that have been traded recently, that’s still a lot of draft capital to concede for the Senators.
Over the past year, Reilly Smith was dealt for a third-round pick, Oliver Bjorkstrand fetched a third-rounder and a fourth-rounder, and Max Pacioretty was traded practically for free. While it’s true that none of these players have scored 40 goals or are just 25 years old, the difference in the play they provide on the ice and their value as assets does not match the difference in the cost of acquisition.
The Red Wings trade
Just about one year later, DeBrincat is back on the move as he’s been dealt to the Red Wings. While certain delusional Senators fans may try to claim that the return in this deal is stronger than the one the Blackhawks got, the truth is far from that. In a 12-month period, the Senators turned three strong draft picks into a conditional first-round selection, a fourth-rounder, an average middle-six winger, and a prospect.
There’s no way not to spin the net result of these two transactions as a loss for the Senators.
To give the Senators some credit, they were put in a less-than-ideal situation as DeBrincat had made it clear that he wanted out. This left them without much leverage as everyone in the hockey world knew that the winger would refuse to sign a long-term deal with the Senators, forcing their hand.
The package of assets that the Senators got back is nothing to get excited about, especially since the Red Wings get some choice in which first round selection they need to give up. The Red Wings can opt to send the 2024 Boston Bruins first round selection that they currently own, a pick that could easily land somewhere in the 2os.
As time goes on, the DeBrincat experiment is likely only going to look worse for the Senators. The prospects drafted with the picks they traded to acquire the sniper are looking quite good and once they start breaking into the NHL, it’ll be even harder to defend some of the decisions made.
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