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As recently reported by Elliot Friedman of Sportsnet, the Ottawa Senators have begun “exploring all options” for current RFA Alex DeBrincat. These include qualifying the winger to his 1 year $9 million deal, signing him to an extension, or trading him for potential assets. I have already made a couple of articles discussing these options so if you would like, you can check them out below.
In his article, Elliot Friedman went on to say.
“DeBrincat recently indicated he wished to wait until the completion of the Senators’ ownership saga before thinking of committing to a long-term extension.”
As individuals close to the bids have indicated, the sale likely will not be completed for 2-3 weeks. With the NHL draft just over three weeks away, DeBrincat will likely not begin serious contract negotiations before the event. As Pierre Dorion has stated before, he would like to have the option to move DeBrincat at the draft if he is unwilling to sign long-term. This puts both parties into a tough situation, and with a couple of sought-after goaltenders entering the market, could there be a potential swap?
David Pagnotta recently took to twitter announcing that goaltender Carter Hart is being shopped as a potential trade piece for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Carter Hart could be a great fit for the Ottawa Senators. The 24-year-old goaltender has shown tremendous potential in his young career despite playing on a weaker Philadelphia team. In the 2022-2023 season, Hart played 55 games and posted a respectable .907 SV% and a 2.94 GAA. These numbers may not be outstanding at first glance, but when considering the team’s defensive deficiencies, they become much more intriguing.
Next we will be looking at the advanced statistics for Carter Hart provided by Moneypuck.com.
Hart’s performance becomes much more impressive when taking a closer look. With 10.3 goals saved above expected, ranked 15th in the NHL, Hart showed his knack for making crucial saves that you would not expect a goaltender to make. Additionally, his 1.71 wins above replacement, also ranking 15th in the NHL further solidifies his overall impact on the game
With a cap hit of $3,979,000 through the 2023/2024 season, Hart presents a valuable asset to a team like the Ottawa Senators. Hart fits perfectly within the team’s timeline, aligning with their long-term vision. Despite being on a struggling team, he has demonstrated flashes of brilliance, showing his potential to become an elite NHL goaltender.
Connor Hellebuyck as reported by Frank Seravalli has also been on the trade market. Hellebuyck is an accomplished 30-year-old goaltender for the Winnipeg Jets and is recognized as one of the best in the entire NHL. In the 2022-2023 season, Hellebuyck’s performance was nothing short of exceptional, as he recorded a stellar .920 SV% and an impressive 2.49 GAA in 64 games. These numbers exemplify his status as an elite netminder, consistently playing at an incredibly high level.
Delving into advanced statistics further supports the magnitude of Hellebuyck’s impact on the game. With an incredible 30.8 goals saved above expected, he ranked fourth in the NHL and was the most crucial piece of the Winnipeg Jets team. His 5.13 wins above replacement, also ranking fourth in the NHL, further emphasizes his immense value to the Jets and their successes this season.
Although Hellebuyck’s on-ice performance is unquestionable, I will express my concerns about his age and future contract. It is imperative to highlight that as a 30-year-old, his next contract will likely demand a significant financial commitment long-term. Given his impressive career, it isn’t unlikely that he could command a salary north of $8 million for 5+ years, which makes me uncomfortable considering his age.
Does A Hart Trade Make Sense?
I would prefer to retain Alex DeBrincat rather than use him as trade bait for Hart. However, it is worth considering the potential benefits of the move. Hart, as the centerpiece of a trade package, could offer Ottawa a long-term solution to their goaltending needs. The big question is whether or not the Flyers are interested in taking on Alex DeBrincat. If Alex DeBrincat does not want to sign with Ottawa, and the Senators were to receive assets on top of Hart, I would be open to a potential trade.
Does A Hellebuyck Trade Make Sense?
In the case of Connor Hellebuyck, I would be much more cautious in facilitating a trade centered around himself and DeBrincat. Hellebuyck will most likely command a contract that will handcuff the Senators. With his age as well, he will likely be on the decline before the core of the Ottawa Senators. If he is to decline within the next few years, his contract will become an anchor for the Senators who will still be in their winning window.