Chicago Blackhawks: How Jeff Skinner’s contract will impact Alex DeBrincat

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Blackhawks have a few RFA’s to sign, and a new NHL transaction might have an impact on one of them for the Hawks.

The Chicago Blackhawks have some notable restricted free agents to sign this offseason, but none are bigger than forward Alex DeBrincat. He had another stellar year in 2018-19 and has continued to improve each season he has been in the National Hockey League. He has also shown now that he can play with Patrick Kane, or he can reap the benefits of a center like Dylan Strome who he played his junior hockey with for the Erie Otters.

The Buffalo Sabres announced on Friday night that they have signed their star winger Jeff Skinner to an eight-year, nine million dollar contract. Right away you look at his numbers and Skinner had a career year in 2018-19 as well but he is 27 years old. He is in the middle of his prime so his 40 goals and 23 assists for 63 points are probably exactly what he is. Those are great numbers, but nine million is a whole lot.

So when a guy like that signs a lucrative contract everybody starts to think about other players of the same caliber who might be in the same or a situation. The immediate thought in the NHL world might go to New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall who is the reigning Hart Trophy winner and one year away from unrestricted free agency, or maybe even Toronto Maple Leafs star Mitch Marner who is very young and an incredible 2018-19 in a contract year.

Well, DeBrincat deserves to be in the conversation as well even if it is to a lesser degree than Hall or Marner. DeBrincat had an even better year than Skinner and he is much younger with an even higher upside. He had 41 goals and 35 assists for 76 points at 21 years old. He is just scratching the surface of his potential unlike Skinner, who is in the middle of his prime.

So if Skinner gets eight years and nine million, how much does that mean DeBrincat is worth? A lot of the time your peers can help dictate how much you make because you compare yourself to them. Well, Alex DeBrincat will know of Skinner’s situation and see how much better he was than him and is much younger with a lot more to give.

There is a chance that he takes a discount to make sure his good friend Dylan Strome gets a nice contract but it will be interesting to see how this all affects him. It had proven to be tough to have a lot of success with three players making over ten million dollars in Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, and adding a third would make it even more difficult. That is why this Jeff Skinner contract might impact the negotiations with DeBrincat in a negative way, but there is always a chance he ends up with a team friendly deal.

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If you think Skinner is overpaid, there might be a chance it gets DeBrincat overpaid. He probably deserves anywhere from 7.5-8.5 million for eight years, but Skinner’s deal might make it hard to get to that number if Alex chooses to use it as a comparable contract.