Blackhawks Re-sign DeBrincat
The Chicago Blackhawks re-signed winger Alex DeBrincat to a three-year, $19.2-million contract. The annual average value is $6.4 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman wanted to avoid with DeBrincat the drama that enveloped this summer’s top restricted free agents. A wise move on his part and a cost-effective signing for a 40-goal scorer.
DeBrincat, 21, was the Blackhawks leading goal scorer (28) during his rookie campaign in 2017-18. As a sophomore, he finished second to Patrick Kane with 41 goals and third in points with 76. Another 40-plus goal effort this season would’ve pushed his asking price much higher than $6.4 million.
This bridge deal works well for both sides. DeBrincat will be able to pursue a more lucrative long-term deal with the Hawks by age 24 when he’ll also have salary-arbitration rights. By that point, the Blackhawks will have considerably more cap room to work with.
The lengthy deals for Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Duncan Keith will expire at the same time as DeBrincat’s, assuming they’re still skating with the Blackhawks. The youngster could be well-established as their first-line scoring star.
Cap Friendly indicates the DeBrincat signing leaves the Blackhawks with over $69.9 million invested in 13 players for 2020-21. Goaltenders Corey Crawford and Robin Lehner are slated to become UFAs but the Hawks will likely only re-sign one of them. Another 60-point season will put UFA defenseman Erik Gustafsson in line for a big raise.
Dylan Strome, DeBrincat’s linemate, is also a restricted free agent coming off an entry-level contract. After just six points in 20 games with the Arizona Coyotes, he netted 51 in 58 games with the Blackhawks. Another performance like that and he’ll also look for a big pay bump. It’ll be interesting to see if Bowman gets Strome signed up before the season’s end.