Postmedia hockey columnist Bruce Garrioch tweeted today that the Ottawa Senators would like to sign Alex DeBrincat to a long-term deal, but they aren’t sure if he wants to stay. For his part, DeBrincat has been non-committal but did tell Garrioch today that he’d let the Senators know his intentions before the draft. Garrioch added that it is believed that DeBrincat would like to see where the Senators ownership situation goes before signing any long-term contract extension.
It makes sense from DeBrincat’s perspective to take a wait and see approach. He has put himself in a position to take a $9MM qualifying offer from Ottawa and then cash in next summer with any team of his choosing. For him to sign right now would mean he would be committing himself for the near future without knowing who will be signing his cheques.
DeBrincat had a steady, but unspectacular first year in Ottawa. He had 27 goals and 39 assists in 82 games, but nearly half of his production came on the power play. DeBrincat managed only 36 even strength points, a sharp drop from the 50 even strength points he produced in his last season in Chicago. DeBrincat also didn’t have great possession numbers at five on five and seemed to struggle without the benefits of the man advantage.
While it is not unusual for a player to struggle in his first season with a new club, it must give the Ottawa Senators some reservations about committing to another $8MM player. The Senators already have Thomas Chabot, Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stützle and Joshua Norris signed to contracts around that mark, with Jake Sanderson due an extension next summer. Adding a long term DeBrincat contract to the ledger could leave the Senators with precious little cap space to shore up their goaltending, or fix their bottom six, something general manager Pierre Dorion has talked about improving.