Senators reportedly exploring trade market for Alex DeBrincat

DeBrincat is an arbitration-eligible restricted free agent who requires a $9-million qualifying offer this offseason.

Ottawa Senators winger Alex DeBrincat has one year remaining on his contract. (Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports)

A year after acquiring Alex DeBrincat, the Ottawa Senators are exploring trade partners for the 25-year-old winger, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Ottawa received DeBrincat from the Chicago Blackhawks in a draft-day deal last July in exchange for the seventh and 39th overall picks in 2022, along with a 2023 third-round pick. DeBrincat recorded 29 goals and 66 points during the 2022-23 campaign, playing in all 82 regular season games for the Senators, the second consecutive year he didn’t miss a contest.

A source told Friedman the Senators are doing their due diligence as the club is still actively entertaining new ownership bids and DeBrincat is waiting to see how the process unfolds.

DeBrincat is an arbitration-eligible restricted free agent and will need a $9-million qualifying offer from the Senators or other suitors. It’s looking increasingly likely the Senators will try to extract value from DeBrincat before he tests unrestricted free agency after the 2023-24 season.

At this juncture of his career, DeBrincat is a fascinating player. He was dependent on the power play to generate the majority of his offense last season, recording 30 of his 66 points at 5-on-5, but ranked tied for 25th league wide with 30 power-play points. He’s entering the prime of his career and has an excellent shot, but he’s a below-average defensive player whose team never posted a majority share of the expected goals when he was on the ice at 5-on-5.

DeBrincat carries an interesting player profile and it’ll be compelling to see what the market is like for a power-play specialist with top-six ability who needs to be sheltered from tougher defensive assignments. Ottawa is likely betting that a contender will pay a premium for a 25-year-old microwave scorer who has two 40-goal campaigns in six NHL seasons.