Nashville Predators Surface as Possible Trade Destination for Alex DeBrincat

Mar 23, 2023; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators right wing Alex DeBrincat (12) celebrates his goal scored in the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 23, 2023; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators right wing Alex DeBrincat (12) celebrates his goal scored in the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports /

Alex DeBrincat will be one of the most talked about players on the trade block this offseason as he doesn’t seem to want to re-sign with the Ottawa Senators, and the Nashville Predators are a team that could be a match.

According to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, the Nashville Predators could be one of the team’s on DeBrincat’s short list of preferred destinations, and the Senators would obviously be looking for a large haul in return and have some leverage here.

A major question surrounding the Nashville Predators is if they’re going to go the true rebuild route or are they going to take the aggressive approach of adding outside pieces.

Trading for a high caliber player like DeBrincat would toss the rebuild to the waste side and signal that the Predators front office, led by Barry Trotz now, wants to quickly get back into contention. Even if it means parting ways with high draft picks and coveted prospects.

Trading for DeBrincat Would be Huge Gamble for the Nashville Predators

There’s no doubt that the Predators need more scoring punch going into 2023-24, but how much do you want to see that improvement come for the young core and show patience in that regard? That’s where the Predators are at as they assess their options on the trade market and in free agency.

DeBrincat is going to likely command a first round pick to Ottawa. They don’t have a draft pick until the fourth round of the upcoming draft, while the Predators have 13 picks. The Predators also have plenty of up-and-coming prospects who played vital NHL minutes last season that would be luring for the Senators.

Trotz would be rolling the dice that he believes in the veterans of this team to drastically increase their level of play if he’s going to part with key prospects. That means you’re betting that Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg and Matt Duchene in particular can all play at a high level for not just this upcoming year, but a few more years at least.

Of course if you add a DeBrincat to the Predators lineup then it raises their stock in the short-term. Playing on a line with Forsberg and Cody Glass would be fun to watch and be great for Glass to center those two.

For this to happen, the Predators would have to likely work out a long-term contract extension for DeBrincat, who is an RFA this offseason. That’s what scares me about this more than anything. Long-term contracts have never been friendly to this organization under David Poile, and it’s dicey for Trotz to dive into that risk so suddenly in his tenure as General Manager.

There’s also the thought of Juuse Saros showing up in trade rumors, most notably this past season with the LA Kings. Could the Senators be in on getting Saros from the Predators in exchange for DeBrincat?

Related Story. Juuse Saros Destined to be Traded by Predators?. light

There are Better Destinations for DeBrincat that Make More Sense

The Predators may be on DeBrincat’s list, but I don’t think they’re at the top. According to the report from LeBrun, the Golden Knights, Stars and Red Wings are also on that list.

Out of those, the Red Wings seem like a perfect match for DeBrincat. They’ve been going through the rebuild for a while now and are a superstar player away from really taking a leap up in the Eastern Conference.

The Red Wings have cap space and assets to be considered a front-runner to land DeBrincat. In comparison, the Predators fall up short of even half the projected cap space that the Red Wings have.

Additionally, the Stars are still in that Stanley Cup window after making it to the Western Conference Finals, but that window isn’t going to stay open for too much longer. I could see them taking a swing for the fences to sign DeBrincat long-term as some of their veterans continue to age out of their primes.

It’s interesting that DeBrincat could be linked to the Nashville Predators, and he would bring much needed help to the 28th-ranked Predators offense. However, getting into a long-term deal and blowing up a part of the youth rebuild is a really shaky proposition.

With the draft capital and the need for scoring, you at least have to leave the Predators in the discussions for DeBrincat, but I do think there are other destinations that are more likely and a better fit.

DeBrincat’s qualifying offer this offseason as an RFA is $9 million. Are the Nashville Predators really in a position to dip their toes back into long-term, expensive contracts? It would be bold as hell for Trotz to pull something like this off, and also a little nuts.

Just purely for speculation, here’s what my top-6 for the Nashville Predators would look like if you throw DeBrincat into the mix. I think you have to part ways with a young forward, like Luke Evangelista or Thomas Novak to get this done. For the sake of argument, I’ll go Evangelista (ouch) if you want DeBrincat from Ottawa, plus probably a first rounder.

1st Line: Forsberg/Glass/DeBrincat

2nd Line: Tomasino/Novak/Duchene