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Speculation Growing Over Alex DeBrincat's Future In Chicago

The Chicago Blackhawks are expected to be open for business in this summer's trade market, and Alex DeBrincat's name will be a popular one.

The Chicago Blackhawks are expected to be open for business in this summer's trade market. Left wing Alex DeBrincat could become their biggest trade chip to acquire the assets necessary to commence a much-needed roster rebuild.

DeBrincat, 24, becomes a restricted free agent next summer with arbitration rights and will be a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. Cap Friendly shows him currently carrying an annual average value of $6.4 million. However, his actual salary next season is $9 million, meaning it'll cost the Blackhawks that much to qualify his rights.

Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times cited reports claiming the Blackhawks were believed to be taking calls on DeBrincat. He considered the New Jersey Devils a prime trade partner, citing their willingness to move their 2022 first-rounder (second overall) for an impact player.

Pope also indicated the Philadelphia Flyers, Ottawa Senators, New York Islanders and Los Angeles Kings had been linked to the Blackhawks' winger. One of them could be willing to part with their first-round pick in this year's draft.

The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun cautioned that there's no guarantee the Blackhawks will move DeBrincat. If they do, however, he believes it'll be for a package of quality futures including high draft picks.

Trading DeBrincat could also affect whether linemate Patrick Kane finishes his career with the Blackhawks. The 33-year-old winger remains among the NHL's elite scorers. He has a year remaining on his contract with a $10.5-million cap hit and a full no-movement clause.

Kane could be open to waiving his clause to join a playoff club. Unless the Blackhawks retain part of his hefty cap hit, he might not get moved until next season's trade deadline. 

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