NHL Notebook: Sens likely to trade Alex DeBrincat, possible landing spots for Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and more

Photo credit:© Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
1 year ago
It looks like Alex DeBrincat is going to be on the move again this summer.
The Ottawa Senators acquired DeBrincat from the Chicago Blackhawks at last summer’s draft in exchange for the team’s first- and second-round picks. His first season in Ottawa was a little bit of a letdown as DeBrincat declined from 41 goals with Hawks in 2021-22 to 27 goals with the Sens in 2022-23.
On a recent episode of 32 Thoughts: The Podcast, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said the Senators are “aggressively looking at” trading DeBrincat. The 25-year-old is a restricted free agent with one more year left of team control before he can hit the open market and DeBrincat isn’t interested in signing a long-term contract extension with Ottawa.
DeBrincat and Connor McDavid played together with the Erie Otters of the OHL before both players turned pro but there’s obviously no way the Oilers could afford the Michigan native given their salary cap situation. Over at Daily Faceoff, Matt Larkin listed the Carolina Hurricanes, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and St. Louis Blues as potential destinations for DeBrincat.

Where might Oliver Ekman-Larsson sign following buyout?

The NHL’s buyout window opened up on Friday and the Vancouver Canucks used one to get themselves out of the second half of Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s contract.
OEL inked an eight-year, $66 million contract extension with the Arizona Coyotes back in July of 2018 and only played two of those seasons in the desert before the Canucks traded for him a couple of years ago. Through two seasons with Vancouver, OEL scored seven goals and 51 points over 133 games and had an on-ice goal differential of 92-to-105.
The Canucks will be on the hook for OEL’s buyout for eight seasons. He’ll cost the Canucks $146,667 in 2023-24, $2,346,667 in 2024-25, $4,766,667 in 2025-26 and 2026-27, and $2,126,667 from 2027-28 to 2030-31.
Over at Daily Faceoff, Frank Seravalli speculated that Ekman-Larsson will look to rebuild his value on a one-year, show-me deal with a contending team.
“I think there’s probably a whole bunch, and it’s all going to come down to his willingness to play for a short-term, short-money deal, which I would think at this point is the smartest thing for him. He can double-dip, he’s already getting paid basically $2.5 million from the Canucks for the next number of years — you’ve got that in your pocket already. Go sign a one-year deal somewhere with a contender: Boston, Tampa, go down the list. There’s a whole bunch of teams. I would imagine even the Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights. A lot of teams could add a left-shot defenceman. That makes sense.”

How much will Connor Hellebuyck earn on his next deal?

Connor Hellebuyck is entering the final season of the six-year, $37 million contract he signed with the Winnipeg Jets back in July of 2018 and the team could look to trade their stud goaltender before he can leave the team as a free agent for nothing.
Over at Sportsnet, Ken Wiebe talked about what a contract extension for Hellbuyck would look like, and he predicted that the Vezina Trophy winner should command one of the largest average annual salaries among NHL goaltenders.
“The pressure is on the Jets to make a substantial offer. It’s probably going to take north of $9 million to get it done.
My initial offer would be six years and $57 million ($9.5 million AAV), knowing full well there is risk attached to the tail end of the contract. Would the Jets prefer to make it five years at $9 million? Absolutely, but it’s essential for the organization to show Hellebuyck they’re serious about making him the face of the franchise moving forward, if that’s the case. Otherwise, maximizing his trade value becomes the next step.”
Carey Price has the highest cap hit of any goaltender heading into the 2023-24 season at $10.5 million. After him are Sergei Bobrovsky of the Florida Panthers at $10 million and Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning at $9.5 million.

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