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NHL Notebook: Trade grades for the Detroit Red Wings acquiring Alex DeBrincat, San Jose Sharks sign Filip Zadina, and more

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Photo credit:© Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Aleena Aksenchuk
9 months ago
The Ottawa Senators traded Alex DeBrincat to the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday in exchange for forward Dominik Kubalik, defenceman Donovan Debrango, and a conditional 2024 first-round and a 2024 fourth-round pick.
DeBrincat signed a four-year deal worth $31.5 million on Sunday, a deal paying the disgruntled winger just under $8-million a year. The former Senators player posted a career-high in 2021-22 with the Chicago Blackhawks when he scored 41 goals and 78 points, but was acquired by Ottawa days before the 2022 NHL draft.
This year, the forward scored 27 goals and 66 points, much lower than what the Ottawa market had been expecting, which in turn resulted in lowering his trade value.
Here’s Daily Faceoff’s Matt Larkin’s grades after reviewing both sides of the deal:

DETROIT RED WINGS

So we have a team (in the Red Wings) trying to break through as a playoff contender, desperate to improve its offense, snatching one of the league’s better goal-scorers away from the team that finished directly above them in their own division. The Wings, flexing their extreme leverage in this situation, get DeBrincat and only have to lose middle-six winger Dominik Kubalik from their current starting lineup in the process. And best of all, they get DeBrincat at a reasonable AAV that will pay him through the rest of his prime.
I almost have no notes, here. Finally, Detroit adds a legitimate top-line NHL forward, and the cost was extremely reasonable.
Grade: A

OTTAWA SENATORS

The Senators “had no leverage,” but they also knew the risk they were taking by acquiring DeBrincat in the first place a year out from his restricted free agency. They got burned in the end. The mess was of their making. And they lose DeBrincat without scoring any of the Wings’ higher-end prospects in the process.
Grade: C-

San Jose Sharks sign Filip Zadina

The San Jose Sharks have signed forward Filip Zadina to a one-year contract worth $1.1 million on Sunday.
Zadina had requested a trade out of Detroit in recent months with both sides clearly frustrated over the high-end draft pick has failed to pan out.
The young forward has struggled to find his footing in the NHL after being drafted sixth overall in 2018 by Detroit. In 2021-22 Zadina played 74 games in the Red Wings staple white and red colours, scoring 10 goals and 24 points, the most of his career.
Zadina was described by Elite Prospects to be a dynamic forward with a goal scorers toolbox, complete with the pucks skills that is expected of today’s elite offensive players. Unfortunately with the Red Wings under a rebuild, Zadina’s efforts have yet to shine through. This past season he scored three goals and seven points in 30 games.
Here’s what Daily Faceoff’s Anthony Trudeau reported on the details of the deal:
The Czech forward was not content to be a bit-part player in Detroit, and in San Diego, he could walk into a more significant role on a team starved of talent.
While the Sharks still have franchise stalwarts Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl in place in their top-six forwards, Timo Meier moved to New Jersey at the deadline, and Alex Barbanov was their fourth-leading forward scorer with 15 goals and 47 points. No other Sharks’ forward had more than 33 points.
Zadina has to step up in a big way for San Jose, whose only other significant scoring addition this offseason was Anthony Duclair. It is an ideal situation for a player who took one of the biggest gambles in recent NHL history by walking away from his extant contract in the Motor City.
Sharks’ GM Mike Grier will hope that in taking a swing on Zadina, he can get a viable top-nine contributor for cheap on a team in flux.

PRESENTED BY BETWAY

Top free agency contracts signed in 2023 so far

It’s been over a week since free agency has kicked off on July 1st and lots of NHL teams have been making moves in acquiring new players to help their teams success in all aspects of the game.
When free agency opens up multiple organizations rush at top ranked players which leads to teams often overpaying. Bad contracts often gain more attention, while good contracts are put on the back burner until a player begins to produce well or the exact opposite.
Daily Faceoff‘s Scott Maxwell reviewed all of the signings in free agency so far and here’s what he’s said about some of 2023’s top free agency contracts:
Tyler Bertuzzi, Toronto Maple Leafs ($5.5 million AAV x 1 year) – Bertuzzi was one of my picks to end up with a bad contract this offseason, but the Leafs managed to avoid that by getting Bertuzzi in at market value, but on a one-year deal. He gives them a left winger that they’ve lacked since Zach Hyman departed two years ago and has some tenacity and goal-scoring ability, creating much-needed secondary offense in Toronto behind the big four up front.
Jonathan Drouin, Colorado Avalanche ($825,000 AAV x 1 year) – Drouin has struggled to stay healthy and provide offense when he is healthy, resulting in a six-year career in Montreal that he’ll probably want to forget. Perhaps a reunion with Halifax Moosehead teammate Nathan MacKinnon will help rejuvenate his career? At the very least, it’s a smart gamble to add depth for the Avs for super cheap, but the uncertainty keeps it as an honorable mention for now.
Connor Brown, Edmonton Oilers – One year, $4 million AAV ($775k cap hit)
I highlighted Brown as a potential buy-low candidate in unrestricted free agency in my bargain bin article because he could be signed at a relatively cheap price, as he was coming off a season where he only played four games and possibly wanted to sign a show-me deal. That’s exactly what he did, taking a league minimum cap hit and reuniting with former Erie Otters teammate Connor McDavid on the Edmonton Oilers. The last time these two played together, Brown led the OHL in scoring with 45 goals, 83 assists, and 128 points.
The lone downside is the performance bonuses that come with it could come back to haunt the Oilers. The main reason Brown signed for as cheap as he did was because he spent a long enough time on long-term injured reserve last season to be eligible for performance bonuses, which is where he’ll make most of his money. The only requirement is that he plays 10 games and he gets $3.225 million, which for the Oilers gets carried over to next season. It’s a low bar to hit, but it essentially kicks the can down the road for another year and may cause problems next offseason for the Oilers, but with the cap going up, that might not be as big of a concern as it would’ve been this season.
Matt Duchene, Dallas Stars – One year, $3 million AAV
Ah, the beauty of the buyout. It can make a player go from having one of the worst contracts in the league to one of the best in the league. Duchene isn’t quite what he used to be, but he still comes with excellent skating and puts up productive seasons, and he works very well when he isn’t the guy down the middle. Great player, but not worth $8 million for four more years at 32.
It’s a great move for Dallas, because for next season it gives them a really strong top-nine forward group, and also gives them the option to move Tyler Seguin down into a lesser role to let him excel even more. And unlike all the other one-year contracts on this list, Duchene doesn’t come with any performance bonuses that will hurt his team’s salary cap next season. Dallas still has plenty of work to do on its blueline to become a true Cup contender, but Duchene still looks to improve what was already a great team.
Max Pacioretty, Washington Capitals – One year, $4 million AAV ($2 million cap hit)
Pacioretty is in the same boat as Brown, coming off an injury-plagued season and looking to prove that he still has game. He’s five years older than Brown, though, so there is a lot more concern about whether his Achilles’ tendon injury will affect his play and slow him down than there is with Brown, but Pacioretty is also a better player when healthy, so there’s a lot more upside if this does pay off.
Also like Brown’s, Pacioretty’s performance bonuses are related to games played, with him getting $1 million after 10 games, another $500k at 15 games, and the final $500k at 20 games. However, the Caps are better suited to eat some of that this season than the Oilers, so they’re paying $2 million of the AAV for this season, so next season’s cap hit if the performance bonuses are hit are much lower AND they have more cap space in 2023-24 with Anthony Mantha and Tom Wilson’s contracts coming to an end. Plus, if the Caps aren’t competitive again this season, but Pacioretty is back to his 30-40 goal pace, they can move him for a decent return at the deadline.

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