The Chicago Blackhawks trading Alex DeBrincat would signal a belief that many more years are left on their rebuild.
As such, their ask in trade talks for the winger apparently have been high.
The Blackhawks appear open to at least listening on the alternate captain, who is coming off his best season with Chicago after scoring 41 goals with 37 assists while playing in all 82 regular-season games. He's under contract through next season, and will be a restricted free agent next offseason.
Goals are expensive, so the Blackhawks would be right not to settle in talks for DeBrincat. According to SportsNet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers engaged in trade discussions centered around DeBrincat, but Chicago’s ask might have been a little too steep.
"I’ve been working on this for a couple of days, and I do think Philly and Chicago were engaged in talks on Alex DeBrincat, definitely," Friedman said on his "32 Thoughts" podcast. "What I’d heard was that things that were being talked about there included the fifth overall pick, the one that the Flyers have in Thursday’s draft. … Somebody reached out to me on Monday night before we recorded this podcast and said don’t continue going down that road.
"What I think happened is Chicago asked Philly for the fifth overall pick and I don’t think Philly wants to do that. I think Philly has decided, at least at this time, that that does not make sense for them and that they’re better off keeping the pick than trading it for DeBrincat."
That would seem to signal the Flyers that they are committed to rebuilding on some level, as DeBrincat getting added to Philly would certainly give it a formidable top-six.
Since rumors started ramping up around DeBrincat, the New Jersey Devils have been kicked around as a possibility. They’ve been rebuilding the last few seasons, but might be nearing the point where it’s time for them to be more aggressive in their roster-building and try to compete in the Atlantic.
“I think everybody wonders about New Jersey. The one thing that New Jersey made very clear was if they were trading (the pick) it was for a player who is under a lot of team control," Friedman said. "DeBrincat is under team control for two more seasons, he’s got one more year under contract and one more year until he’s an unrestricted free agent – is two years enough for New Jersey? Because then you have to extend him, you’re really handing leverage to the agent. I think everybody wonders about that, knowing how New Jersey feels about this, I wonder if they would consider two years of DeBrincat acceptable to trade second overall for.
The NHL Draft is set to begin Thursday, and clearly the Blackhawks are eyeing a high pick. If DeBrincat isn’t moved by then, it will cast even more uncertainty on his already uncertain future in Chicago.