MONTREAL (AP)NHL player moves are happening fast and furious leading up to the start of the draft, with many being made by teams that have won the Stanley Cup over the past decade.
The Chicago Blackhawks became the latest to make a big splash when they traded winger Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators for the seventh and 39th picks this year and a third-rounder in 2024. Long since winning championships in 2010, 2013 and 2015, the rebuilding Blackhawks were expected to move on from DeBrincat, who has one year left on his contract at a salary cap hit of $6.4 million.
DeBrincat, 24, who set career highs with 41 goals, 37 assists and 78 points, goes to Ottawa to join a team on the rise and could soon sign a new deal to keep him there long term.
”Alex’s acquisition brings immediate and additional firepower to our forward group,” Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said. ”He’s a dynamic forward who’s a scoring threat to the opponent when in the attacking zone. He maintains great vision, has exceptional skill and a quality shot which helps him score from virtually any part of the ice. He’s a consistent performer and an underrated playmaker.”
The reigning champion Colorado Avalanche also made a trade to shore up their goaltending situation and ensure Cup-winning Darcy Kuemper won’t be returning and will instead hit the open market when free agency opens. They acquired goaltender Alexandar Georgiev from the New York Rangers for third- and fifth-round picks this year and a third-rounder next year.
The Avalanche can now pair Georgiev, who needs a new contract as a restricted free agent, with Pavel Francouz as they try to defend their third title in franchise history.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, who won it all back to back in 2016 and ’17, re-signed veteran defenseman Kris Letang to a $36.6 million, six-year contract that carries a $6.1 million annual salary cap hit.
Pittsburgh may not be able to keep the entire band together, given center Evgeni Malkin is also set to be an unrestricted free agent, but general manager Ron Hextall prioritized locking up the 36-year-old Letang long term.
”The role he plays on our team is irreplaceable, he is a leader in our locker room and has made countless contributions to the organization over the last 15-plus years,” Hextall said in a statement.
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