NHL Rumor: A possible deal is in place for Alex DeBrincant, but it's not with the NY Islanders

The saga continues ...

Ottawa Senators v Toronto Maple Leafs
Ottawa Senators v Toronto Maple Leafs / Claus Andersen/GettyImages
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After some perceived momentum and optimism that GM Lou Lamoriello and the New York Islanders were real players for Ottawa Senators star winger Alex DeBrincat in the days after free agency opened on July 1st, those hopes have tempered considerably in recent days.

While a report from SportsNet's Jeff Marek last week said it was down to the Islanders and Red Wings to land the two-time 40-goal scorer, Detroit has always been perceived as the preferred destination for DeBrincat, who is from Farmington Hills, Mich. Among the complications is that for Sens GM Pierre Dorion to get back fair value for a player, he traded a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round pick for last July, an extension has to be worked out.

On Friday, Kevin Allen, a national columnist forHockeyBuzz and current Red Wings beat writer for DetroitHockeyNow, was a guest on the Michigan-based "X's and Bro's" podcast and said that he believes there is already a deal in place between the Sens and Red Wings, but GM Steve Yzerman is unwilling to match the term DeBrincat's representation is seeking.

"I think actually there is a deal in place; what's holding up now is that Yzerman and DeBrincat's camp can't agree on a contract, said Allen, who covered the NHL for over 30 years with USA Today. "They're not going to pay him more than Dylan Larkin. I'm confident on that, and they don't want to give him eight years. If you look at Yzerman's history, he fought even Larkin on eight years."

2022 NHL Draft - Round One
2022 NHL Draft - Round One / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Allen added that he feels that Detroit wants to hand DeBrincat a contract no longer than five years and around time $7.5M AAV. That's far below the reported max eight-year extension that resembles Timo Meier-type contract he received from the New Jersey Devils earlier this off-season.

For Allen's full comments and context on DeBrincat, the segment starts at 38:30 mark:

Up Next: Where does this leave the NY Islanders?

Where does this leave the NY Islanders?

The Red Wings have made moves to free up salary cap space to land DeBrincat, including waiving former 6th overall pick Filip Zadina for the purpose of contract termination. They have the room to fit the talented 26-year-old into their lineup, but Allen feels that Yzerman will hold the line in contract negotiations.

As for the Islanders, they have been going in the opposite direction of the Red Wings, having just $387,500 of cap space per Cap Friendly following the signing of depth-forward Julien Gauthier. There's some maneuverability to create minimal space with the contracts of Ross Johnston and Simon Holmstrom, but in order to fit DeBrincat this year and beyond, Lamoriello would need to trade at least one sizeable contract, rumored to be JG Pageau to Detroit, and then likely make another move to free up the required cap space. Oliver Wahlstrom remains a RFA.

New York Islanders v Philadelphia Flyers
New York Islanders v Philadelphia Flyers / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

DeBrincat had a "down" season last year, scoring 27 goals, so it's understandable that teams are using that as leverage to avoid handing out a max-term contract. From an Islanders' perspective, the team has signed three players to eight-year extensions over the last year. Mathew Barzal signed before last season, Bo Horvat inked an extension days after being acquired from the Vancouver Canucks, and Ilya Sorokin's extension was announced on Jul. 1.

The Islanders could be a team that DeBrincat is open to going to but not ready to sign an extension. If so, it would be a gamble for Lamoriello to disrupt his roster for a chance to sign him long-term, though he has plenty of success retaining players he has traded for over recent seasons, including Pageau, Kyle Palmieri, Horvat, and Pierre Engvall. To do so, the Islanders would likely need to offer DeBrincat a deal long enough and rich enough that makes him willing to forego free agency for the first time in his career next summer when the cap is expected to go up.

Last week, there was an expectation that the DeBrincat sage would be resolved one way or another. Now it appears that the saga will drag on further into the summer unless Detroit or DeBrincat's camp is ready to concede their positions. If and when that happens, the Islanders will have to look elsewhere in the trade market to makeover their roster ahead of next season.