Report: Senators eyeing Tarasenko once DeBrincat is dealt
The Ottawa Senators may have a replacement lined up if they can deal winger Alex DeBrincat in the near future.
Bruce Garrioch of Postmedia writes that the "expectation is that if the Senators can find a way to get DeBrincat and his $9 million salary off the books for next season, Ottawa could sign unrestricted free agent winger Vladimir Tarasenko."
Garrioch adds that the Anaheim Ducks and New York Islanders are among the interested clubs, and notes talks with the Detroit Red Wings may have been revisited recently.
DeBrincat is on the trade block as he remains unwilling to sign with the Senators long term. Although he is a restricted free agent, DeBrincat is ineligible for an offer sheet after the Senators filed for club-elected salary arbitration last month.
Tarasenko split the 2022-23 season between the St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers, posting 18 goals and 32 assists in 69 games.
The Yaroslavl, Russia, native was acquired by the Rangers on Feb. 9.
The 31-year-old winger registered three goals and one assist in seven playoff games as the Rangers fell to the New Jersey Devils in the first round.
Tarasenko is coming off an eight-year, $60-million deal he signed with St. Louis in 2015.
DeBrincat's ask holding up talks?
Garrioch reported earlier this week the Senators have given DeBrincat's agent permission to negotiate with at least three teams regarding an extension, but his price appears to be too high for all of them.
TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger said on the Ray and Dregs Podcast that the winger is looking for a contract similar to the one Timo Meier signed with the New Jersey Devils last week - eight years, $70.2 million, with an average annual value of $8.775 million. Dreger notes, however, that acquiring teams see DeBrincat's value as being close to Jesper Bratt, who inked an eight-year, $63 million contract with the Devils, carrying a cap hit of $7.875 million.
“If that’s holding up a trade, and it sounds like it might be, then it’s got to be up to Alex DeBrincat to reconsider or maybe he stays in Ottawa,” Dreger said.
DeBrincat, 25, had 27 goals and 66 points in 82 games this past season. Senators’ general manager Pierre Dorion acknowledged prior to last week's draft that he expects DeBrincat's production to rise closer to his career average next season.
“If he comes back to us, we know he had 27 goals, but whether he plays for us or plays for another team, we know he’s going to get 40 to 45 goals again,” Dorion said.
DeBrincat was acquired by the Senators in July of 2022 during the NHL Draft from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for three draft picks, including the seventh overall selection.
The 5-foot-7 winger was drafted 39th overall by the Blackhawks in the 2016 NHL Draft and has 187 goals and 373 points in 450 career games split between the Blackhawks and Senators. He has cracked the 40-goal mark twice in his NHL career.