Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman made no bones about one key area he feels his team must upgrade before the 2023-24 season.
“We got to score more,” Yzerman said.
Added coach Derek Lalonde: “Obviously we’d love a couple of natural 50-goal scorers.”
Thing is, 50-goal scorers don’t grow on trees. But, it would appear that a two-time 40-goal scorer might be available for the taking.
According to published reports, forward Alex DeBrincat doesn’t have an appetite for remaining with the Ottawa Senators. DeBrincat accounted for 27 goals with Ottawa last season. However, he twice ascended to the 40-goal plateau with the Chicago Blackhawks, his previous team.
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Ottawa dealt this year’s first- and second-round draft picks, as well as a 2024 third rounder to Chicago last year for DeBrincat. Now, evidently, he wants out of the Canadian capital city.
Expectations are that if the Senators and DeBrincat don’t come to agreement on a contract extension soon, he’s likley to be on the move to a new team before the conclusion of the NHL entry draft.
Should Detroit be interested if DeBrincat goes on the trade market? Red Wings TV analyst Mickey Redmond, himself a two-time 50-goal scorer, certainly thinks so. Redmond made a point of launching a campaign for DeBrincat on the post-game show following the club’s farewell regular-season broadcast.
Pros: Why DeBrincat To Red Wings Make Sense
Obviously for starters, DeBrincat fills a pressing need. He is a natural goal scorer. He’s potted no less than 27 goals in five of his six NHL seasons.
Yzerman has found success in the past by adding former Blackhawks forwards. Dominik Kubalik was a 20-goal scorer this season and Pius Suter has proven to be a useful utility foward who’s hit double digits in goals in both of his seasons with the Red Wings.
DeBrincat was born in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Perhaps a homecoming is something that he would find to be appealing.
Cons: Are Detroit And DeBrincat A Good Fit?
At 5-foot-8 and 178 pounds, DeBrincat would be adding another undersized player to a team that is already on the small side. Both Lalonde and Yzerman were acknowledging that another pertinent offseason mission is to make the Red Wings into a team that is consistently harder to play against.
“We got to be a more physical team,” Yzerman said. “We got to be a more competitive team. That doesn’t necessarily mean I got to go out and get somebody who’s 6-6, 250, to go out and beat people up.
“Go out and win puck battles, block shots, win faceoffs. All those little things make a team more competitive. We have to improve in all those areas.”
DeBrincat is due for unrestricted free agency following the 2023-24 NHL season. It wouldn’t make sense for the Wings to acquire him if they didn’t already have an agreement on a contract extension in place prior to the deal. This would be similar to how last year’s draft-day deal for goaltender Ville Husso worked out.
Another issue could be Detroit’s standing in the NHL standings. DeBrincat has been with teams that missed the playoffs in five of his six NHL seasons. Will he be excited to sign a long-term pact with another team that’s in rebuild mode?
There are plenty of salient points on both sides of this debate. However, the bottom line is if DeBrincat does end up on the trade market, the Red Wings must and almost certainly will explore what it would require to acquire him.