The Senators could be listening to trade offers for DeBrincat this summer, as he’s a restricted free agent (RFA) and could command a lot more money than Ottawa is willing to pay. They already have a lot of salary cap space tied up in Josh Norris, Brady Tkachuk, Thomas Chabot, Jakub Chychrun, and Claude Giroux. All five of them will be under contract with the Senators through at least the 2024-25 season and beyond for most of them. It wouldn’t shock me to see DeBrincat get traded for a second consecutive summer, which would make him the biggest name on the board if available.
After a huge 2021-22 season with the Chicago Blackhawks, DeBrincat was moved to the Senators in exchange for the seventh and 39th overall picks in the 2022 Draft and a third-round pick in the 2024 Draft. This was considered a steal for the Senators, but they didn’t reach an extension with him, and his numbers went down in 2022-23. However, he’s still a very good player.
This WAR player card from JFresh shows how valuable he still is on offense. Before his first season in Ottawa, DeBrincat had three seasons of 30 goals or more with the Blackhawks; he had 41 goals and 37 assists for 78 points in 82 games in 2021-22 with Chicago. He’s also been reliable with four seasons of 82 games played, including all 82 games in each of the last two seasons. In the shortened 2020-21 season, he played 52 of 56 games and has only missed four games in his six-year career. That’s wildly impressive, given his undersized frame. He knows how to protect himself.
In 2022-23 with the Senators, he scored 27 goals and racked up 39 assists for 66 points, a goal total far too low in an 82-game stretch by his standards. He only tallied 16 even-strength goals, down from 27 in 2021-22. I believe that his drop-off in production is more about his fit with Ottawa than his on-ice ability, meaning he could rebound in a big way with a new team in 2023-24.