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With Hindsight In Mind, A Closer Look at the Alex DeBrincat Trade

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Now that the dust is settled on the Alex DeBrincat trade that went down with Detroit, maybe now it’s an easier glance at the trade that polarized some in the Chicago Blackhawks fanbase.

But after what Detroit Red Wings general Steve Yzerman was able to finagle with the Ottawa Senators–well, Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson looks ever more deft of when he unloaded DeBrincat.

Let’s take a closer look at what the Blackhawks got and then dig deeper with what the Red Wings gave up before making an assessment.

What did the Blackhawks Get Trading Alex DeBrincat

When the trade was announced before the draft, DeBrincat was traded for Ottawa’s first round pick (7th overall), its 2022 second-round pick (39th overall), and a 2024 third-round pick. With the first-round pick the Blackhawks took Kevin Korchinski and with the second-round pick they selected center Paul Ludwinski.

Dorion, via the NHL story  said the hope was to re-sign him with two years of team control remaining. Didn’t happen. Beyond that, DeBrincat’s numbers dipped from his production with Chicago.

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks potentially have a core player in Korchinski while Ludwinski, if his ankle injury is fully healed, is likely to have a season that is more in line with what his first season with Kingston looked like.

The third-round pick is obviously out of the mix until next year’s draft, or potentially for capital that Davidson could pitch somewhere else.

Without factoring in anything else, on the surface it looks like a reasonable win for both teams.

What did the Red Wings Give up for DeBrincat?

The first-round pick is contingent upon the Red Wings season. Should the Bruins hit the skids, the 2024 pick they dealt Detroit can be retained and turn into a 2025 pick. If not, Detroit would keep the more valuable of the selections.

Kubalik was an unrestricted free agent after the 2023-24 season and based on Yzerman’s previous dealings, like Pius Suter, he likely would have let him walk. No matter that Kubalik had 45 points (20-25), his best season since his rookie campaign with Chicago, he wouldn’t likely be in the team’s long term plans.  He’ll be 28 in August, and tracking what Yzerman has said about the window of the core, he’s a couple years older than DeBrincat who is right in age with captain Dylan Larkin.

Sure, a couple years aren’t much and that’s not the point. But in terms of the better fit, locking up DeBrincat for four years is more secure, and truthfully, a likelier shot at getting precisely what they need in a goal scorer.

Donovan Sebrango is one of several defenseman in Detroit’s system, but is waiting in line behind several others who are likely to make it to Detroit. He’s also on the younger side, raising that ceiling ever so slightly to give Ottawa some more value in the trade. He’s likely to be an NHL defenseman–likely more of the bottom four or even a third pairing, but he’s still on the younger end of 21 heading into his fourth professional season. There’s still potential there–but with no disrespect to Sebrango–he’s not as big of a defensive prospect that many thought would go Ottawa’s way.

What’s the Deal, Then?

Davidson pitched DeBrincat off after  his best statistical seasons–78 points, 41 of them in the back of the net. Davidson struck while it was hot, knowing he was going in a completely different direction. The return on the surface with some players involved in both deals still having some time to play.

Should DeBrincat see better returns with Detroit, the Blackhawks won in a landslide. Ottawa is selling lower than it would have liked, not getting a William Wallinder, Jonatan Berggren, or even Albert Johansson. The Red Wings were able to keep some of their higher graded out players, and acquire a top-line scorer.

There’s still some time to wait and see how it all shakes out. But as of now, Davidson’s pre-draft deal looks like a hell of a steal.

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