The Chicago Blackhawks have left-winger Alex DeBrincat under contract through the 2019-2020 season. Would it make sense to re-sign him now?
After missing the playoffs the past two seasons, the Chicago Blackhawks figure to be spenders in free agency. They will likely be utilizing the majority of those funds on the defensive side of the puck. The team has allowed the third most goals in the National Hockey League in the last two seasons but has scored the 13th most goals during that time.
If the team can shore up their defense, they have a chance to potentially re-open their championship window. One guy that would like to join in on the festivities is 21-year old Alex DeBrincat. The Farmington Hills, Michigan native was drafted 39th overall in the 2016 NHL Draft by the team. He played in the Ontario Hockey League in the 2016-2017 season and lead the league in goals (65) and assists (62).
He made the Blackhawks roster the following year and has been nothing short of amazing. In his rookie season, DeBrincat posted 52 points (28 goals, 24 assists) and played in all 82 games. He set a Blackhawks rookie record with most hat tricks in a season (3).
Who could have imagined a better rookie season and what was about to come? DeBrincat proved to any doubters that his first year in the NHL was not a fluke by scoring 41 goals last season, which was tied for sixth-most in the league and three behind teammate Patrick Kane.
With DeBrincat set to become a restricted free agent after the 2019-2020 season, does it make more sense to re-sign him when the new league year begins on July 1? Yes, the Blackhawks figure to be active in free agency, but they have to be careful as DeBrincat’s linemates Dylan Strome and Dominik Kahun are also set to become restricted free agents next offseason as well.
With the 2019-2020 salary cap projected to be approximately $83 million, the Blackhawks look to have approximately $19.5 million in cap space right now. The early reports suggest that DeBrincat could get a six-year deal worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $45 million ($7.5M AAV).
Assuming a linear AAV for DeBrincat’s new contract, that would leave the Blackhawks with roughly $12 million to play with. The team could backload the contract which would certainly help out the Blackhawks situation right now.
However, the team will have some money off the books after the 2019-2020 season as Corey Crawford ($6M) and Drake Caggiula ($1.5M) and approximately $34 million in cap space entering the 2020-2021 season.
I could see Stan Bowman trying to get something done with DeBrincat at the start of the new league year, but ultimately I think he plays out this season hoping to cash in. What do you think?