DeBrincat Dealt to Detroit: “I Think There Were Better Fits (Than Ottawa) Out There For Me”

Less than 24 hours after being traded to the Detroit Red Wings, Alex DeBrincat’s media availability Monday sounded as much like a Welcome Home party as it did a news conference.

The Farmington Hills, Michigan native was returning home, where he grew up and played his minor hockey. It was very much reminiscent of Claude Giroux’s homecoming in Ottawa last summer, a week before the Senators acquired DeBrincat.

DeBrincat was traded Sunday for a conditional first round pick, winger Dominik Kubalik, defenceman Donovan Sebrango and a fourth round pick in 2024.

When DeBrincat told the Senators he didn’t want to sign long term in Ottawa, the team began plans to trade him, rather than lose him in unrestricted free agency next summer and get nothing in return. But it was complicated. The Sens wanted to trade him somewhere he’d be willing to sign long-term, which would allow Ottawa to get more for him in the deal.

DeBrincat’s agent, Jeff Jackson, who was being asked to forego UFA next summer, wanted DeBrincat to be compensated for that and thus, was driving hard bargains with teams that were interested in acquiring him from Ottawa for more than just one year.

But in the end, with a chance to head back home, where he and his wife are from (and where his parents are currently doing cartwheels), DeBrincat took less money and term than he was seeking elsewhere and the Sens were able to proceed with the deal.

Near the end of the welcome home love-in, a reporter finally asked about Ottawa. DeBrincat chose his words carefully as he clarified his reason for not wanting to sign long term in the capital.

“I think, um, you know, we spent a year there and we just didn’t really, um, you know, have enough time to really, you know, think about signing long term there,” DeBrincat said. “And I think there were probably better fits out there for me.

“So, um, you know, that’s kind of why we said we’re gonna go, um, not sign long term at that time. And, um, you know, they made the decision to try to get something for me and to avoid me walking for free next year, I guess. So, um, you know, I think it was kind of, you know, once I said that, I think the writing was on the wall and they were ready to move me.”

It’s certainly possible that Senators GM Pierre Dorion may have found a better deal at the trade deadline in March, but with DeBrincat publicly confirming today that he’d prefer to be playing somewhere else, it was wise for the Sens to move on from him as soon as possible.

The team has too many excellent, high character players on its roster. They don’t need to be dragging a teammate through a long season if he’d rather be somewhere else.