It's the same old story once again for the NY Islanders. In the team's pursuit of a bonafide winger to play on the top line, the Isles have narrowly missed out. Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported via his Twitter account that the Detroit Red Wings will acquire Michigan native Alex DeBrincat from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Dominik, Kubalik, Donovan Sebrango, a 2024 conditional first-round pick, and a 2024 fourth-round pick. David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period was the first to report the two sides have agreed on a four-year extension with a $7.875M AAV.
Earlier in the week, Jeff Marek reported on his podcast that the two teams in the running to acquire the former 40-goal scorer were the Isles and the Red Wings. With DeBrincat choosing his home state, it's just another instance of the Islanders playing the bridesmaid in an effort to boost goal-scoring.
Last year, the Islanders were reportedly among the finalists with the New Jersey Devils to sign prized free agent Johnny Gaudreau. Gaudreau ultimately joined the Columbus Blue Jackets claiming he never even spoke with the Islanders.
In 2019, top free agent Artemi Panarin made it known he wanted to play in New York, deciding whether to play on Broadway with the NY Rangers or head to the suburbs with the Isles. At the time, Anders Lee was a highly targeted free agent among other teams but had committed himself to Long Island, willing to take less money to help the Islanders acquire the Russian playmaker. Panarin decided to take his talents to Madison Square Garden, and Lee was given a seven-year deal with a $7M AAV.
It seems as if DeBrincat's first choice was always to play with Detroit, but after coming up short again, where do Lou Lamoriello and the Islanders turn now? The team can still use a scoring winger and an upgrade along the left side of defense if Lamoriello can find the right deal. Lamoriello has made it known he's willing to improve his roster through a "hockey trade" and will have to set his sights on a new target now that the DeBrincat is off the board.