NHL Rumor Mill – October 7, 2022

by | Oct 7, 2022 | Rumors | 16 comments

Are the Senators closing in on a new contract with Alex DeBrincat? How will the Rangers free up salary-cap space for the coming season? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


ESPN’s Kevin Weekes took to Twitter on Oct. 5 reporting he’s been told the Ottawa Senators are actively working to sign Alex DeBrincat. “Situation remains fluid”, he said.

Ottawa Senators winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators acquired DeBrincat this summer from the Chicago Blackhawks. A two-time 40-goal scorer, the 24-year-old winger is in the final season of his contract with an average annual value of $6.4 million.

DeBrincat earns $9 million this season in actual salary, which is what it’ll cost the Sens to qualify his rights. He will also be a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility next July.

With New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal recently signing an eight-year contract worth an AAV of $9.15 million, DeBrincat could get something between $9 million and $9.5 million. However, his camp could prefer waiting to see how this season plays out. Another 40-goal campaign could push DeBrincat into the $10 million AAV range.

The Senators have $60.9 million invested in 11 players for 2023-24. A new deal for DeBrincat will take a big bite out of their $22 million in cap space.


THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple wondered if there are any ways the New York Rangers can give themselves extra cap room now. They have just over $1 million in projected space to start the season.

They could attempt to acquire the contract of a player on permanent long-term injury reserve such as the Vancouver Canucks’ Micheal Ferland or the Arizona Coyotes’ Andrew Ladd. However, they can only exceed the cap by the equivalent of the sidelined player’s AAV. Doing so also means the Rangers won’t be able to accrue salary-cap space throughout the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staple doesn’t see the Rangers going this route at the present time. They don’t have a need to add that much cap space right now unless they’re about to acquire someone via trade and that player’s cap hit fits within the LTIR amount. He concludes it’s too complicated right now.


  1. I think Drury will follow same pattern he used last season. I believe this roster is better than the one they started with last season. Blais was lost to injury early in the season and they chose not to put him on ltir, instead accumulating cap space for deadline additions. After signing Trochek, I don’t see a future for Chytil in NY. They could move his 2.3m cap hit at deadline in a Kane deal. Of course the deadline is 5 months away and you never know who could get hurt between then and now.

  2. Dibrincat’s new contract ought to send an ole Controller like George into a tailspin. Even George would have a hard time trying to fathom if this figure goes there, or that figure goes here they’ll sell the bank on this one I think. if the meantime Sweeneys. Still playing peakboo with Pastrnak. This is his one card left after this he’s got no more cards to give. Fans will know they’ve been duped again. Sweeney’s a master at this and he does it every year.

  3. The DeBrincat camp could conceivably hold off finalizing any new deal to strengthen their position for a contract in excess of $9 mil by gambling on him having another 40-goal + season.

    But that’s the kicker … and as someone pointed out the other day, he might not given that he doesn’t have Kane on his line anymore. Not that Stutzle and Giroux are incapable of working the same magic – but until it actually happens over 82 games we simply don’t know. And neither does DeBrincat’s agent.

    Should Dorion come up now with a long-term (8 years?) deal in the area of $7.5-$8 mil it would not surprise me to see them agree and sign. Then the gamble lands in Dorion’s court in the hope that the cap goes up significantly the year after this coming season – as has been projected. If it doesn’t due to unforeseen circumstances beyond anyone’s control then the GM is in the same boat as a clutch of others in trying to move an expensive contract to free up cap space.

    Don’t touch that dial – as they used to say for cliffhangers. It’s the new NHL reality show coming your way.

    • Hey. George

      I believe he will play out the year and bet in himself and at year end let Dorian either work a long term deal if he keeps banging in 40 even if he doesn’t he will have to be qualified at the 9 million. He can’t lose best scenario he plays great. And they sign long term 10 mil per as that us what it will cost or more. Or if out of playoffs and jnow they do bot want to pay the $$ move for boatload of assets

    • With the salary cap projected to rise immensely in the next couple of years and that coincidentally matching Debrincat’s UFA timeline there is absolutely no way he takes 7.5-8M, or at least he shouldn’t.
      Athletes are a confident bunch, he will gamble on himself to get there, he has the talent and with Ottawa he has the talent around him too.

      • I agree no way Debrincat’s agent takes that deal at 24 yrs old he can play this into 2 more lucrative contracts if he stays healthy. The top six forwards with the cap going up are going to get paid, but the bottom six forwards better leave they’re suit cases packed.

    • I believe that Dorion is playing a similar wait-n-see with Zub. Zub, Zaitsev….russians, both starting with Z. Both had excellent rookie campaigns. The Leafs were quick to sign Zaitsev to a painful deal we are now living with.

    • I agree. But there are contracts that can be knocked off the Sens payroll. Like Zaitzev , Even Batherson if Pinto can shine. The cap will rise. Inflation alone carries it along. Debrincat will debate on accepting a 9 million qualifying offer for one year or the 7-8 million over 9 years the sens will likely push. heck if he does put up 40 goals again I don’t think the Sens will struggle to much with the thought of moving a guy like Batherson to free up some money. Slide stutz to wing, move Pinto up. assuming all things fall into place.

  4. DeBrincat shoots bb’s. A special touch.
    Worth every much as Barzal
    Caufield another that has that finish gift

    • Personally, I tend to agree with each of you above … just pointing out another possibility given that none of us are mind-readers – lol. But, yeah, just watching him so far in the exhibition games and his seemingly easy mesh with Giroux and Stutzle, we’re looking at something over $9 mil. Worry about the cap consequences later.

    • Hearing Caufield in the same sentence as Barzal and Debrincat is quite a stretch even ridiculous as this time

      • Referring to finishing capabilities of Caufield only. Not his record or tenure or stat results. Watch his goals and then comment. No so ridiculous.

  5. As long as the communications are open between the Sens and Debrincat I am happy. I fully understand both sides’ reasons for playing it cautious. The cap going up and the increased level of play of the Sens and the need for Alex to get paid what he’s worth makes it very hard to agree to anything just yet. If Alex has another banner year AND the team makes real strides toward being a contender AND they have the room to sign him to the numbers, I can see a deal getting done in the summer.

    As George said… it has to be a cliffhanger for now. It’s how the league is currently and the Sens are not the only team in this situation.

  6. Weegar signed an extension with the Flames 8 years $50 million. $6.25 million aav.

  7. R.I.P. Dave Dryden, former NHL and WHA goalie.

  8. A lot of dead guys wished they just signed a contract