NHL Rumor Mill – March 22, 2023

by | Mar 22, 2023 | Rumors | 9 comments

The latest speculation on Alex DeBrincat’s next contract, an update on possible suitors for the Senators and the latest on the Blue Jackets in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TSN’s Shawn Simpson guesses Alex DeBrincat could be skating with the Ottawa Senators next season on his $9 million qualifying offer.

Ottawa Senators winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeBrincat is a restricted free agent his summer with arbitration rights who’s also a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. His average annual value is $6.4 million but his actual salary this season is $9 million, which is what it’ll cost the Senators to qualify his rights.

The Senators gave up three draft picks (including their 2022 first-rounder) to acquire DeBrincat last summer. General manager Pierre Dorion indicated last month that they’ll see how things go over the remainder of the season. Teams had called about DeBrincat before the March 3 trade deadline but Dorion had no interest in moving the 25-year-old left winger.

It’s believed Senators’ management wants to wait until the new ownership is in place before opening contract discussions with DeBrincat. I think Dorion wants to re-sign him before the June 30th deadline for qualifying offers but his hands are tied until the new owner takes over. If that hasn’t been sorted out before that deadline, Dorion might not have much choice but to qualify DeBrincat for next season and work on an extension beyond 2023-24.

Speaking of the sale of the Senators…

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports six potential suitors for the Senators will be in town this week to get a first-hand look at the city and the team’s operation. Meanwhile, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly are expected to attend Monday’s game between the Senators and Florida Panthers at Canadian Tire Centre and meet with Ottawa mayor Mark Sutcliffe along with officials from the National Capital Commission.

The six interested parties are believed to be Markham-based developer The Remington Group, billionaire Michael Andlauer, Toronto-based Harlo Capital, Los Angeles-based producer Neko Sparks, developer Rocco Tullio and Graeme Rouston, the owner of The Hockey News.


THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline recently reported the Columbus Blue Jackets moved winger Patrik Laine to center on the first line with Johnny Gaudreau and Kirill Marchenko and bumped center Boone Jenner down to their second line. They could maintain this experiment for what remains of the regular season.

Portzline believes the Blue Jackets could have “a dramatically different look at center ice next season” even if Laine returns to the wing. Checking-line center Dmitry Voronkov is expected to make the jump to the NHL after spending his development years in Russia. Portzline also noted they’re hopeful of landing one of the franchise centers at the top of this summer’s draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets are currently at the bottom of the NHL standings, giving them the best odds of winning this year’s draft lottery if they’re still in that position by season’s end.

Connor Bedard of the WHL’s Regina Pats is the top prize and could be ready to make the jump right away into the NHL. Other promising options include the University of Michigan’s Adam Fantilli and versatile Swedish Hockey League forward Leo Carlsson.


  1. Give away Tuesday’s – Islanders vs Leafs

    Keefe – U need to shuffle your lines and defensive pairings more ?!?!?!

    Obviously has a strategy , nobody else knows about ?!?!

    Samsonov – .778 GAA last night

    Only in the Fishbowl in Toronto

    • Wasn’t that game in New York?

      • Yes

    • What’s the rumor?

  2. Still think that the Sens should trade Debrincat for a scoring winger under contract, a late 1st and a prospect. I am sure there are many examples that can be made. This 8 yr contract will hamstring the great progress they have made up to this point.

  3. Lyle, where is this “Dorion wants to re-sign him (DeBrincat) before the June 30th deadline for qualifying offers but his hands are tied until the new owner takes over” coming from? I heard much the same a few weeks back … but can’t seem to pin down where that thinking originates.

    With whoever is the new owner, ultimately committing to something close to $1 billion for the whole package, not even known yet, I can’t see the current stakeholders putting up roadblocks on Dorion’s decisions involving player decisions. Why would they unless all 6 parties have specifically asked that such restrictions be imposed because they all want to make up their own minds as to who will be guiding the team once they take over? And I just can’t see that being the case.

    Looking at his stats, yes, you see a drop-off from last season in Chicago where he had 41g 37a 78pts and was a -13 over 82gp, to this season where he has 21g 35a 56pts and is a -27 over 71gp – for 82 game potential of 24g 40a 64pts. That’s an 18 point drop-off – but then again, he isn’t skating on the same line as Kane anymore.

    I think Dorion will have a free hand as to whether or not to re-sign him to a long-term deal before the qualifying offer takes effect or, trade his rights.

    In that vein, it may be worth keeping an eye on what the Rangers do early in the off-season in an effort to keep Kane, which could include a blockbuster package deal with the Senators involving deBrincat going to Broadway.

  4. Am I the only one who thinks Alex DeBrincat is getting way over hyped? He is a good player but even a long term deal at say 8X8 seems like a huge over pay.

    He only has 56 points in 71 games 0.79 ppg. Only 21 goals as well. With all the young talent coming up with the Sens he should start to see reduced power play time as well.

    I also complained Tage Thompson was a massive over pay oops so could be very wrong

  5. Re DeBrincat,

    I think they try to Re-sign him in the Low $7.9 M to a high of $8.2 Range…🤔
    Not to upset the Dressing room and keep all the player’s in the same pay skale Range, He should be under Both Stützle & Tkachuk

    See point total below, YTD.

    $ 8.35 Tim Stützle 78 pts

    $ 8.20 M Brady Tkachuk 72 pts

    $6.5M Claude Giroux 68pts

    ❓…..Alex DeBrincat 56 pts……..

    $4.975 Drake Batherson 55pt

    $7.95.M Josh Norris #1 centre out injured!

    He PD has to save some cash to Sign a Starting Goaltender between the Draft and the UFA period June 28th to July 1st….
    and add an older Big Physical 3rd pairing d/man to the group…..🤔

  6. DeBrincat shoots Bb’s and not all NHLers do. He also has stayed healthy. High IQ . What’s the problem ?