Phil Thompson: Chicago Blackhawks' clock hinges on Alex DeBrincat's status -- and trading him could have huge repercussions

Phil Thompson, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Hockey

Kane would have to evaluate how patient he can be with the rebuild, or waive his no-movement clause and ask to be traded to a playoff contender, like the Hawks did with goalie Marc-André Fleury last season. Otherwise, Kane would have to weigh how much staying with one franchise through his Hall of Fame career means to his legacy.

Jonathan Toews already spoke about the prospect of moving on after the Hawks traded up-and-coming forward Brandon Hagel to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“In this case, you can’t help but picture yourself and what it’d be like to play for another team and what that experience would bring. That pops into your mind,” Toews said in March.

The Hawks have said they’ll be reluctant to shell out cash during free agency this summer, so without DeBrincat, how much appetite would they have to retain Dylan Strome and Dominik Kubalík, both of whom have arbitration rights and likely are due significant raises?

Speaking of which, DeBrincat will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights after next season, and a $9 million qualifying offer might be too rich for the Hawks’ blood this early in the rebuilding process.

DeBrincat said he’s “open to anything” when asked last season about an extension.


In the long term, trading DeBrincat could bring a windfall for the Hawks.

Hagel netted two future first-round picks and young forwards Raddysh and Boris Katchouk.

Imagine what DeBrincat could bring. Davidson’s not going to trade DeBrincat for anything short of a king’s ransom, not if he wants to show his face anywhere near Madison Street.

The Hawks have five picks between the second and third rounds this year, a protected first-round pick from the Lightning in 2023 (potentially four picks in the first two rounds) and another protected first-round pick from the Bolts in 2024 (potentially two first-rounders).


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