Alex DeBrincat isn’t expecting to see “Welcome Back, Alex” signs Saturday when he plays his first game in Ottawa since the Senators traded him to the Detroit Red Wings.
Ottawa fans were displeased that DeBrincat didn’t seem eager to re-sign with the Senators. He was there for one season and scored 27 goals. DeBrincat is not expecting a warm reception. He has to expect some boos.
“Over the summer when a lot of that stuff was coming out, ” DeBrincat said. “I saw a little bit of it. It is what it is I think. I know what happened behind closed doors and what the situation was. A lot of the stuff coming out wasn’t exactly how it played out. It is what it is. They’ll write what they want to write. That’s fine with me.”
The Senators dealt DeBrincat to Detroit for first and fourth round picks, plus Dominik Kubalik and Donovan Sebrango.
Michigan native DeBrincat didn’t elaborate on how the deal came down, but he is thrilled to play with his hometown team. He’s off to an impressively strong start, sharing the NHL’s point-scoring lead with Vancouver forward Elias Pettersson. They each have eight points.
DeBrincat has a unique perspective about Saturday’s game because last season he was playing for the Senators when they beat the Red Wings in back-to-back games in Ottawa in February. The Senators manhandled the Red Wings and won the games by 6-2 and 6-1 verdicts.
“I think we were a couple of points behind the Wings at that point,” DeBrincat said. “Back to back on home ice was very important to us. Those were important games for both but I think we kinda hunkered down harder and played with a little more pace and obviously won those games. That was good but I think we can take a lot from that. They’re not easy to play in their building. We can go in there and if we have a strong start we can hopefully take one from them.”
Does DeBrincat Trade Spice Ottawa-Detroit Rivalry?
DeBrincat views the teams as similar.
“There’s a lot of skill on both teams,” DeBrincat said. “We play similar styles I think. Both teams want to play north and play with a lot of speed. Should be a good game, should be a fun one. Obviously it’s early in the year but every point matters. It’s a pretty important one in the division. Should be good.”
He is trying to keep track of the Senators who have a 3-1 record like the Red Wings.
“I watched them a little bit,” DeBrincat said. “I have a lot of buddies on the team, so it’s fun to watch people you’re friends with and see how they’re doing. Obviously it’ll be a little different playing them but it’s a fun team watch for sure.”
The Red Wings have been fun to watch in early going and DeBrincat has been a reason for that. He gives the team a proven finisher. This is a player who knows how to cash in his chances.
He is clearly enjoying his time on this team that seems to be in a growth spurt this season. The Senators also seem to be in a growth spurt.
“I definitely think there’s a rivalry there,” DeBrincat said. “Each team wants to prove they’re better than the other. We play them a couple of times and obviously division matchups, they’re always important. I know being on the other side of it we were definitely fired up to play the Wings. They’re definitely important games to kind of mark yourself throughout the league.”