The Chicago Blackhawks traded All-Star winger Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators for the 7th and 39th picks in this year’s NHL draft and a third-round pick in 2024.
Then, in another draft day surprise, the Hawks sent Kirby Dach to the Montreal Canadiens for the 13th and 66th picks.
The Hawks spent the seventh pick on 6-foot-2, 185-pound defenseman Kevin Korchinski of the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds. NHL Central Scouting calls him “a top-tier offensive defender who is highly skilled and can create scoring opportunities in all situations. Excellent on the power play.”
“We really have our guy,” Hawks general manager Kyle Davidson said during the broadcast. “That was one of the main things we wanted to do today: get Kevin Korchinski, and we did.
“The combination of size, skating, the whole package, really sold us on it. We are just ecstatic.”
Davidson of outgoing players DeBrincat and Dach: “They’re good players. DeBrincat is a little more established in his career and he’s a highly productive player, but you know what, in our rebuild we need assets, we need young assets and we need to build that prospect base. We thought that was the best way to go and we have our process and we’re sticking to it, and we’re happy with how it’s going today.”
Dach had nine goals and 17 assists in 70 games for the Hawks last season, but the center has yet to meet expectations for the third pick in the 2019 draft.
All in all, what DeBrincat and Dach bring to the ice has been outweighed by the Hawks’ desire to assemble a stable of picks and prospects for their rebuild years.
The Hawks closed the chapter of DeBrincat’s five-year career in which the 2016 second-round pick became their leading goal producer and heir apparent to Patrick Kane.
Davidson reportedly turned down several offers for DeBrincat, who scored 41 goals last season, until he got the incredible deal he was looking for, which will serve as the basis for a year-long rebuild.
“We thank Alex for his tireless dedication to the Blackhawks organization over the past five seasons and wish him well in Ottawa,” Davidson said in a team statement. “It was an incredibly difficult decision to trade a player of Alex’s caliber. We feel this move sets the Blackhawks up for future success by giving us additional flexibility and future talent. Securing this early first-round pick tonight and an additional second-round pick tomorrow allows us to strengthen our prospect base with high-level players who we hope will make a difference for years to come.”
DeBrincat had 160 goals and 147 assists in 368 games over five seasons with the Hawks. He was an All-Star last season for the first time in his career.
On the surface, it wasn’t the loot that Brandon Hagel exchange obtained — two conditional first-round picks and two Tampa Bay Lightning prospects — but Davidson had been working hard to get a first-round pick in this year’s draft.
Several factors paved the way for the DeBrincat trade to happen.
The Seth Jones trade in July, executed by Davidson’s predecessor, Stan Bowman, required the Hawks to send their first-round pick this year to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Since Davidson replaced Bowman in late October, he has lamented losing that pick, especially now that he has embarked on a rebuild.
And with that decision to hit the franchise reset button, the Hawks extended time to get back into Stanley Cup contention.
Another mitigating factor: The Hawks needed to find a business partner that not only had the assets they wanted, but also the room to accommodate DeBrincat’s salary cap both now and in the future.
Even at 24, the Hawks could have risked seeing DeBrincat past his prime before they were competitive again. Also, the Hawks have said they want to be cautious with their spending, and a qualifying offer to DeBrincat would cost them $9 million.
The Hawks are also trying to rack up picks and prospects, so trading DeBrincat now serves two purposes: to add two more picks in the first two rounds this year and, with the loss of their most dynamic winger besides Kane, to put them firmly in place. in the Connor Bedard Sweepstakes in 2023.
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The director of amateur scouting described Bedard as a “generational” talent, as well as Matvei Michkov and Adam Fantilli, giving the Hawks three chances with a franchise player if they lose enough games to finish in the top three of the lottery. .
But that might be little consolation, at least initially, to Hawks fans who have embraced DeBrincat as the future of the franchise.
The question is, is it worth the cost of the return?
Part of Davidson’s self-imposed mandate was to restock with many picks and/or prospects, so the mission was accomplished there.
The Hawks now have eight picks in the first three rounds of this year’s draft.
- Two first-round picks, Nos. 7 and 13
- Three in the second round
- Four in the third round, including the Canadiens’ pick at the top of the round
The Hawks have two first-round picks (one protected top-10) and two second-round picks in 2023 and two first-round picks (one protected top-10) and two third-round picks in 2024.
If the Hawks don’t make any other moves, they could end up with 19 picks in the first three rounds over the next three seasons.