• By: Dave Gross

DeBrincat takeaway – fans disenchanted with deal

Based on what we’ve seen and read from the fan base in the past 12 hours, Ottawa Fan is not quite starting the work week on their happy feet.

What happened was Ottawa Senators General Manager Pierre Dorion traded away sniper Alex DeBrincat to the Detroit Red Wings and wise-man Steve Yzerman Sunday night for a package that (to the fan base) was underwhelming. The Senators sent the 27-goal man (and a two-time 41-goal scorer, need we remind you) DeBrincat to Detroit for forward Dominik Kubalik (20 goals last season), prospect Donovan Sebrango and a conditional first-round pick and a fourth-round pick in 2024.

(DeBrincat, a restricted free agent, signed a four-year, $31.5 million US deal shortly after the deal was completed.)

Here are a few of the more outstanding reactions via that inter-webby thing: “Brutal trade;” “I cannot wait until this house of trash is cleaned;” “PD just got robbed;” “As usual with Dorion, my expectations were low but holy ****;” “How is Pierre still employed lol an ECHL defenseman is the prospect;” “I don’t have Twitter anymore, someone start #DorianOut.”

And so on, and so on. You get the idea.

Look. Let’s get some perspective. This isn’t Mark Stone-all-over-again. The deal isn’t despicable, but I’d agree it’s a tad underwhelming. Unlike that good old ‘quick analysis’ by hockey’s headbangers immediately following free agency or the draft, this’ll be wait and see.

And this is what we know at present – Kubalik (for now) is the centrepiece in the return. He’s capable but, at soon-to-be 28 years of age, doesn’t have near the upside of DeBrincat. Kubalik adds depth and a valuable scoring ability.

The picks will help down the road. How much? Get back to me in five-to-six years.

Sebrango is depth and was expendable. The Wings already had a surplus of higher-level blueline prospects in the system in Simon Edvinsson, William Wallinder, Antti Tuomisto, Albert Johansson and Eemil Viro.

The focus is all on DeBrincat from an all-hockey-world-perspective here. Yzerman certainly did not empty the cupboard to get him, and DeBrincat’s new contract is a terrific one for Detroit.

Can he produce, will be the question, and here’s where things get fuzzy. DeBrincat’s going to a team that, like Ottawa, does not have the luxury of carrying a playmaker like Patrick Kane. (Kane was DeBrincat’s running mate for five seasons in Chicago, pre-Ottawa, where Alex scored 160 times).

Slotting Detroit’s new winger with up-and-comer Lucas Raymond seems to make sense. Who plays the middle between the pairing would present the big question – perhaps veteran Dylan Larkin. Again, there’s no wheeler-and-dealer available like Kane (unless Yzerman adds Kane through free agency, and he does have the cap space for now).

Ottawa clearly did not know what it was getting itself into last summer when Dorion went large and dealt for a pending unrestricted free agent in DeBrincat. To be clear, Dorion knew he was landing a big-time scorer but did not know that said scorer would not relish the atmosphere north of the border. As talented as DeBrincat is, he never looked like a good fit.

In retrospect, Dorion did the best he could with a somewhat disinterested puzzle piece.

The one knock is DeBrincat adds offensive muscle to a team, like Ottawa, attempting to climb back into the playoff hunt . . . and in the same division too.

Wait and see.


Photo: The Sporting News