The latest on Alex DeBrincat as the NY Islanders explore hockey trades

Ottawa Senators v Vancouver Canucks
Ottawa Senators v Vancouver Canucks / Derek Cain/GettyImages

New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello was talking about making "hockey trades" as the way to improve the roster moving forward after a busy Saturday that involved resigning priority free agents Scott Mayfield, Pierre Engvall, and Semyon Varlamov and extending goaltender Ilya Sorokin's contract for eight seasons.

“We will do everything we can to make any transactions we can to make us better," Lamoroello stated. "As we’ve always said, it takes two, but we are certainly open to hockey trades.”

The Islanders were open to making hockey trades last summer too, but none ever felt particularly close to happening. This time, there appears to be real substance to the Islanders reported interest in Ottawa Senators scoring winger, RFA Alex DeBrincat. As free agency started, rumors began to pick up about a package involving JG Pageau heading back to his former team in a package for the talented 25-year-old winger, who has twice scored 40+ goals in a season.

The latest on Alex DeBrincat as the NY Islanders explore hockey trades

Per a report in the Ottawa Sun, Sens' GM Pierre Dorian confirmed he has given DeBrincat's agent Jeff Jackson permission to speak with other teams after his client turned down an eight-year extension from Ottawa. While some trades have gotten close, apparently DeBrincat's camp hasn't been satisfied with the type of term being offered by those teams, causing talks to stall out.

“There’s varying degrees of interest,” Dorion said at the Canadian Tire Centre. “Teams call, we get close to a deal, I give them permission, and sometimes they’re not ready to pay maybe the term that we’re ready to pay."

After the Islanders handed out two seven-year contracts and one eight-year extension, it is hard to think that term alone was a sticking point for a player two years younger than Pierre Engvall. Yes, extending DeBrincat would be a fourth contract north of $8M on the team, but the Islanders and other teams around the league are banking on the salary cap to go up considerably over the next few seasons after the mostly flat cap due to the COVID-19 impacted seasons.

There is now some chatter that DeBrincat could be willing to sign a short 1-2 year extension with the Senators if a deal isn't worked out, allowing him to hit the free-agent market at 27-28 years old at a time where more teams will have more cap space to work with to pay him the AAV and term he and his agent are pursuing.

The Islanders have five "pure centers" that make Pageau somewhat expendable with there years remaining on his contract. Pageau has intangibles that would be hard to replace, and while his scoring dipped last season (13G, 27A), he still has 20-goal potential in addition to being the team's best defensive forward and one often trusted against the opposition's best forward group. A prospect and another player would likely be needed to pry DeBrincat away from Ottawa.

Pageau would be a difficult piece to move; but if the return is DeBrincat, it gives the Islanders a chance to lock up a first-line of three All-Stars (DeBrincat-Horvat-Barzal) for a very long time.