What could've been: Alex DeBrincat extension

May 22, 2023  (11:26 PM)

Alex DeBrincat is entering the final year of his contract with the Chicago Blackhawks. DeBrincat has quickly turned himself into a fan favorite and one of the best players on the Blackhawks roster. His chemistry with Patrick Kane is an added bonus that has delivered time and time again for the Blackhawks over the past few seasons. With the trade rumors surrounding DeBrincat heating up, Blackhawks fans are left wondering if he will become a casualty of the rebuild, or if he will be a building block for the future. DeBrincat has stated that he loves Chicago and wants to be here moving forward, so let's dig into what his next contract could look like to keep DeBrincat home for the foreseeable future.

DeBrincat is entering the last year of his 3-year contract extension with a $6.4-million-dollar cap hit. DeBrincat has proven time and time again that he is one of the premier goal scorers in the league. The 24-year-old is coming off a career high 78-point campaign this past season and has steadily increased his offensive production over the past 3 seasons. With his increasing production and young age, DeBrincat is definitely due for a pay raise. There are two contract scenarios that are the most likely.
A Bridge Deal
Bridge deals were very common under the Stan Bowman regime. It'll be interesting to see if Davidson takes this approach or tries to lock DeBrincat up for the long-term. The most notable players to sign bridge deals were Artemi Panarin and Dominik Kubalik. Panarin's bridge deal was 2 years worth $6 million dollars a season. This contract allowed the Blackhawks to attempt to push for another Stanley Cup while right up against the salary cap. Panarin was ultimately traded. Kubalik's contract was 2 years worth $3.7 million a season. Kubalik was coming off a fantastic rookie season and was given a bridge deal to prove he wasn't a fluke and was deserving of a bigger payday at the end of the extension. In the situation of Alex DeBrincat, a bridge deal may be around 2 to 3 years for roughly $7 million a season. The Blackhawks currently have a little over $21 million in projected cap space for this upcoming season and are projected to have a little over $54 million in cap space the following season. With the rebuild underway and a lot of cap space in the future, it may be best to not take the bridge deal approach with DeBrincat.
A Long-Term Contract Extension
It is very rare that you find a 24-year-old winger who can score with the consistency that DeBrincat does. At only 24 years old and not having significant playoff experience, DeBrincat has a ton of hockey left in his tank. He has also been extremely fortunate to have not suffered any major injuries in his young career. It is also up in the air for how long a contract extension for DeBrincat could be for. Given that a true rebuild usually takes roughly 4 to 5 seasons, it would make sense to have DeBrincat on the books when the next window is open to compete. Given his age, skill, and offensive production, a contract extension of roughly 6-8 years around $8 to 9 million a season is not out of the realm of possibility.
There is another glowing factor that could hinder DeBrincat getting a long-term deal. Patrick Kane and Johnathan Toews are set to become free agents after this next season. While it is unclear whether Toews will want to resign, Patrick Kane has said that he wants to stay in Chicago. It is unclear whether Patrick Kane will be willing to take a pay cut from his current $10.5 million a season.
The Blackhawks have the cap space to make both moves happen but will need cap space to sign one to two big free agents when the franchise is ready to contend again. While both options for an extension are on the table, it would make more sense to lock up DeBrincat long-term. The franchise needs proven players to head the charge into the rebuild and DeBrincat is the perfect player to do so.
What do you guys think? Would you rather see DeBrincat locked up long-term or sign a bridge deal to see how he continues to develop?
22 MAI   |   163 ANSWERS
What could've been: Alex DeBrincat extension

Would you rather see DeBrincat locked up long-term, on a bridge deal, or moved for draft picks and prospects?

Long-term!9357.1 %
Bridge deal2716.6 %
Trade him4326.4 %
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