Red Wings land DeBrincat, agree to 4-year, $31.5M contract

The Alex DeBrincat saga reached its conclusion Sunday with the Ottawa Senators trading the two-time 40-goal scorer to the Detroit Red Wings.

In return, the Red Wings sent forward Dominik Kubalik, prospect defenseman Donovan Sebrango, a conditional first-round pick and a 2024 fourth-round pick to the Senators. Shortly after the Red Wings announced the trade, the team announced it signed DeBrincat to a four-year extension carrying a $7.875 million salary cap hit and a total of $31.5 million.

Per the Senators, the initial condition attached to the first-round pick is the Red Wings' having the option of sending either their 2024 first-round pick or the Boston Bruins' 2024 first-round pick -- which the Red Wings acquired in the Tyler Bertuzzi trade in March. It comes with the caveat that if the Bruins' 2024 first-round pick is a top-10 pick, the Bruins will have the option to retain the pick and transfer their 2025 first-round pick to the Red Wings. The Red Wings will then have the option of sending that draft pick or their actual 2024 first-round pick to the Senators.

Ottawa's trade of DeBrincat comes a year and two days after the Senators acquired him from the Chicago Blackhawks. They got DeBrincat in exchange for the No. 7 pick of the 2022 NHL draft that eventually became prospect defenseman Kevin Korchinski, a 2022 second-round pick that became prospect forward Paul Ludwinski, and the Senators' third-round pick in 2024.

DeBrincat's departure from the Senators had been rumored -- something Senators general manager Pierre Dorion confirmed at the NHL draft upon telling reporters that the club was not in any rush to move in order to find the best possible trade.

Getting DeBrincat gives the Red Wings a 25-year-old winger who has scored more than 50 points in each of his six NHL seasons. His lone year with the Senators finished with DeBrincat scoring 27 goals and 66 points. It was the fifth time and third consecutive season DeBrincat finished with more than 20 goals in a campaign.

His arrival is also the latest move in what has been an active offseason for the Red Wings.

It started when they acquired forward Klim Kostin in a trade with the Edmonton Oilers that also saw them receive forward Kailer Yamamoto. They bought out Yamamoto -- a decision that will cost only $443,334 in 2023-24 and another $533,334 in 2024-25 -- with the forward eventually signing with his home state Seattle Kraken.

Armed with salary cap space, the Red Wings used their financial muscle to strengthen several parts of their roster in free agency. They signed defensemen Shayne Gostisbehere and Justin Holl and signed goaltender James Reimer. They also signed forwards such as Christian Fischer and Daniel Sprong before signing one of the bigger names in this free agency class in center J.T. Compher to a five-year pact worth $5.1 million annually.

CapFriendly projected that the Red Wings entered Sunday with $13.537 million in available space, which made them a potential player for DeBrincat, who grew up in the Detroit suburb of Farmington Hills, Michigan.

Now that the Red Wings have DeBrincat, he joins a potential top-nine forward group that now has Dylan Larkin, David Perron, Andrew Copp, Robby Fabbri, Lucas Raymond, Compher, Kostin and Sprong, with Fischer also potentially challenging for a spot.

It leaves the Red Wings with $8.162 million in projected cap space should they seek to add more to a roster that is trying to snap a seven-year playoff drought -- a streak that is tied for the longest in franchise history (1970-71 through 1976-77). The Red Wings made the playoffs the following year only to then miss the postseason for the next for years.

Last year, the Red Wings finished 12 points adrift of the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

One of those teams sandwiched between the Red Wings and that final wild-card spot was the Senators.

Acquiring DeBrincat was one of a few moves the Senators made last offseason that created the belief they could potentially challenge for a playoff spot. Those expectations took a hit when an early-season seven-game losing streak in November paved the way for a rocky campaign that ultimately saw the Senators finish six points behind the Florida Panthers, who won the last wild-card spot before their eventual run to the Stanley Cup Final that saw them lost to the Vegas Golden Knights.

Kubalik's arrival gives the Senators a top-six forward they can use to help fill DeBrincat's role. The 27-year-old scored 20 goals and 45 points last season, his fourth straight season with more than 15 goals. Kubalik's 45 points were one shy of tying his previous personal best.

He'll challenge for a top-six spot in a group that includes Brady Tkachuk, Claude Giroux, Tim Stutzle and Drake Batherson, among others. As for Sebrango, he was a third-round pick by the Red Wings in 2020 who split last season between the AHL and ECHL, where he had a combined five goals and 19 points in 62 games.