NHL Rumor: What's going on with Alex DeBrincat? NY Islanders linked to scoring winger

Ottawa Senators v Montreal Canadiens
Ottawa Senators v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

It's that time of the year again.

The New York Islanders are being linked in the media to some of the most highly coveted trade targets this summer. The latest is Alex DeBrincat of the Ottawa Senators.

In a growing trend this summer, players entering the final year of their contract are letting their teams know if they're not interested in signing a long-term extension. It's what led to Tyler Toffoli being traded from the Calgary Flames to the New Jersey Devils, and some of his other former teammates are also expected to be on the move.

The same situation is unfolding in Ottawa, where DeBrincat, 25-year-old sniper has informed the Sens he is not interested in signing a long-term extension, making him one of the most coveted trade targets on the market this off-season.

According to a tweet from Dave Pagnotta of The Fourth Period, GM Lou Lamoriello and the Isles have "kicked tires" on DeBrincat and are now in a better place to acquire and extend such a player after trading Josh Bailey and his $5M AAV to the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday after attaching a 2026 second-round pick.

Senators' GM Pierre Dorian said he is in no rush to trade DeBrincat. "There’s not really a crunch time for us," said Dorian at the NHL Draft on Thursday. The Sens, rightfully so, believe they have a tremendous asset in DeBrincant, who, at just 25 years old, is entering his prime, having already scored 40+ goals twice in his career and is coming off a 27-goal, 39-assist season in Ottawa.

After seeing what the Winnipeg Jets received in return from the Los Angeles Kings for Pierre Luc-Dubois, Dorian now has the framework of what trading DeBrincat could fetch back in return. The Sens acquired the winger from the Blackhawks in July of last year for 1st and 2nd-round picks in 2022 and 4th-round draft picks in 2023. Part of the calculus of making that move was the expectation that Ottawa could flip him for a similar, if not better, package if the scenario that is playing out became a reality.

The Islanders do own their first and second-round picks for 2024 (they do not have a 3rd round pick after trading for Pierre Engvall). They also have all of their 2025 picks, meaning that despite yesterday's trade and recent moves that depleted the team's draft capital, they do have enough to make this type of move, provided they package with another prospect or NHL-level player with upside such as Oliver Wahlstrom.

We know and understand why many fans scoff at these type of reports.

Nothing is leaked out of Lamoriello's regime which makes it feel even more unlikely that these rumors have any substance behind them. At the same time, the Isles would be doing their fans a disservice it they weren't "kicking tires" on these types of players.

Things change fast, and while publicly Lamoriello has stated his preference is to retain all of his UFAs, those players and the market will have something to say about that. If the team's 'Plan A' doesn't pan out, it could force the team to make a type of 'all-in' move that carries higher risk but higher reward.