Dorion rules out dealing DeBrincat; Hamonic, Brassard unlikely to be traded
Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion says he has ruled out trading restricted free agent Alex DeBrincat ahead of the March 3 deadline.
Dorion, who said he's interested in adding a defenceman at the deadline, told reporters Thursday that he also expects to hold on to pending unrestricted free agents Travis Hamonic and Derick Brassard.
The Senators have improved their playoff hopes with six wins in their past seven games. Sitting seven points back of the Washington Capitals for the final wild-card spot with three games in hand, Dorion said he will use the next seven games – a stretch concluding on Feb. 28 – to decide whether to buy or sell at the deadline.
The team's highest-profile pending UFA is veteran Cam Talbot, who is currently sidelined with a lower-body injury. Dorion said the goaltender is expected to resume skating with the team in the next two days.
With Anton Forsberg sidelined for likely the remainder of the season, the Senators depth has been tested this week. Mads Sogaard and Kevin Mandolese have both come up from the AHL to post wins.
Talbot, acquired in the off-season from the Minnesota Wild, has a 12-13-1 record this season with a .905 save percentage and a 2.90 goals-against average. Expected to return in the coming days, Talbot carries a cap hit $3.67 million on his expiring deal.
In addition to Hamonic and Brassard, defenceman Nick Holden and forwards Austin Watson and Tyler Motte complete the list of the team's pending unrestricted free agents.
Holden will be placed on injured reserve Thursday with an upper-body injury, Dorion said.
Watson has four goals and six points in 50 games this season, while Motte has three goals and nine points in 36 games.
DeBrincat staying put
Acquired ahead of the 2022 draft from the Chicago Blackhawks for a package that included the seventh overall pick, DeBrincat has 18 goals and 44 points in 53 games in his first season with the Senators.
The 25-year-old carries a $6.4 million cap hit this season and is arbitration eligible if the Senators issue his qualifying offer of $9 million ahead of free agency.