Garrioch: DeBrincat has ‘no inclination’ of signing with Senators, could be moved at draft
Alex DeBrincat’s stint with the Ottawa Senators could be a short one.
Following the team’s end-of-season media availability, Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch reported that DeBrincat was non-committal when asked about a possible contract extension with the club. He added that general manager Pierre Dorion could look to trade the forward if a long-term extension is not in place by the NHL Draft in June.
“From what I heard this morning, I think we’re talking about a guy who has no inclination of signing here,” said Garrioch. “He said he’s open to having discussions but I found what he said was very non-committal. He didn't show any signs that he’s going to sign a contact extension here.
“The Senators won’t keep him unless they can get some kind of long-term extension in place. They’ve had the door open since they acquired him last July. There have been no substantial discussions between DeBrincat, his agent, Jeff Jackson, and Dorion. I think there’s a possibility that at the draft, we may see Alex DeBrincat get moved.”
The Farmington Hills, Mich., native was acquired prior to the 2022 NHL Draft from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Ottawa’s first and second-round picks in that draft (No. 7 and No. 39 overall) and a third-rounder in the 2024 draft.
DeBrincat played all 82 games in his first season with the Senators and finished fourth on the team in both goals (27) and points (66).
The Senators missed the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season after finishing with a 39-35-8 record, six points shy of the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Garrioch added that Dorion has made it clear that he will make a $9 million qualifying offer to DeBrincat as he looks to finalize a long-term deal with the two-time 40-goal scorer. He is set to become an unrestricted free agent after finishing the final season of a three-year, $19.2 million contract he signed with Chicago in 2019.
DeBrincat was originally selected in the second round (39th overall) by the Blackhawks in the 2016 NHL Draft. In 450 career games over five seasons, he has recorded 187 goals and 373 points.
Despite missing the playoffs and the impending decision to be made regarding DeBrincat, Garrioch said the team’s season was a success and there is reason optimism heading into next season.
“I think the Senators can look at this [season] as a success. They've made steps in the right direction, with the emergence of Tim Stutzle and the best free agent signing in the history of this club with the addition of Claude Giroux,” said Garrioch. “I think the pieces are in place for this team to head in the right direction. I think as they head into this offseason there’s a lot of promise and hope for next year and I think they can feel good about themselves.”
The futures of Dorion and head coach D.J. Smith with the organization have come into question following another missed postseason. However, Garrioch says the uncertainty surrounding the Senators' ownership situation could mean both could remain with the club for one more season.
“It’s all about timing right now. If the new owners don't get a deal in place until July 1, or thereafter, I think you've missed your window if you want to make changes with the front office,” Garrioch said. “I do see a situation where Dorion and Smith are back next season and get the opportunity to complete the job of trying to help this team make the playoffs."