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Chicago Blackhawks trade Alex DeBrincat to Ottawa Senators

The Chicago Blackhawks traded All-Star winger Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators for the Nos. 7 and 39 picks in this year’s NHL draft and a third-rounder in 2024.

The Hawks closed the chapter on DeBrincat’s five-season run in which the 2016 second-round pick emerged into their top goal-producer and heir apparent to Patrick Kane.

General manager Kyle Davidson reportedly turned down several offers for DeBrincat, who scored 41 goals last season, until he got the wow deal he was looking for, which will serve as the building blocks for a yearslong rebuild.

“We thank Alex for his tireless dedication to the Blackhawks organization over the last five seasons and wish him the best in Ottawa,” Davidson said in a team statement. “It was an incredibly difficult decision to trade a player of Alex’s caliber. We feel as if this move sets the Blackhawks up for future success by giving us additional flexibility and future talent. Securing this early of a first-round pick for tonight and an additional second-round selection tomorrow allows us to fortify our prospect base with high-end players who we expect to be a difference makers in the coming years.”

DeBrincat had 160 goals and 147 assists in 368 games over five seasons with the Hawks. He was an All-Star last season for the first time in his career.

On the surface, it wasn’t the haul that Brandon Hagel’s trade fetched — two conditional first-round picks and two prospects from the Tampa Bay Lightning — but Davidson had been working furiously to get a first-round pick in this year’s draft.

Several factors paved the way for the trade to happen.

The Seth Jones trade in July, executed by Davidson’s predecessor, Stan Bowman, required the Hawks to send their first-round pick this year to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Since Davidson replaced Bowman in late October, he has lamented losing that pick — especially now that he has embarked on a rebuild.

And with that decision to hit the reset button on the franchise, the Hawks extended the clock on returning to Stanley Cup contention.

Another mitigating factor: The Hawks needed to find a trade partner that not only had the assets they wanted but the space to accommodate DeBrincat’s cap hit both now and in the future.

Even at age 24, the Hawks might have risked seeing DeBrincat pass his prime before they’re competitive again. Also, the Hawks have said they want to be cautious with their spending, and a qualifying offer to DeBrincat would cost them $9 million.

The Hawks also are trying to build up picks and prospects, so trading DeBrincat now serves two purposes: adding a two more picks in the first two rounds this year and — with the loss of their most dynamic winger besides Kane — putting them firmly in the Connor Bedard sweepstakes in 2023.

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Amateur scouting director described Bedard as a “generational” talent as well as Matvei Michkov and Adam Fantilli, giving the Hawks three chances at a franchise player if they lose enough games to end up in the top three of the lottery.

But that might be little consolation, at least in the early going, for Hawks fans who’ve embraced DeBrincat as the future of the franchise.

The question is, is the return worth the cost?

Part of Davidson’s self-imposed mandate was to restock with a lot of picks and/or prospects, so mission accomplished there.

Now, the Hawks have seven picks in the first three rounds of this year’s draft.

  • One first rounder, no. 7 jumpsuit
  • Three in the second round
  • Three in the third round

The Hawks have two first-round picks (one of them top-10 protected) and two second-round picks in 2023 and two first-round picks (one, top-10 protected) and two third-round picks in 2024.

If the Hawks don’t make any other moves, they could end up with 17 picks in the first three rounds over the next three seasons.

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