Why Alex DeBrincat's contract with Blackhawks is a win-win for both sides


PRAGUE — The Blackhawks took care of their top priority in the summer of 2020 a year early after locking up pending restricted free agent Alex DeBrincat on a three-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $6.4 million.

And the deal couldn't be better for both sides.

DeBrincat said from the beginning that he wanted to get it done sooner than later and didn’t want to be part of the group that missed training camp because of a contract disagreement.

“I didn't want to be waiting around like a lot of the RFAs this year,” DeBrincat said. “So it's good to have it done, focus on the season, be a good team and win some games."  

DeBrincat probably could’ve gotten a higher cap hit had he let the season play out and turn in another 40-goal campaign, but Year 3 of his contract will net him $9 million, according to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, meaning his qualifying offer will have to start there. It also gives DeBrincat a chance to max out on a longer-term contract with an even higher dollar amount once the NHL agrees to a new U.S. television rights deal, which should significantly increase the salary cap.

The interesting part about DeBrincat’s contract is that he will become a RFA at the same time Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are also due new contracts. But GM Stan Bowman is fully aware and isn't losing sleep over that just yet.

“I don’t know by design but we certainly knew that,” Bowman said. “We didn’t just find that out now. We’ll have more information, that’s four years down the road. We still have this year and three more. I think a lot of things will change between now and then. Certainly with the salary cap itself and with our team and our players and where they’re at.

"I just find that we don’t have to make those decisions as to what our team’s going to look like four years down the road. It’s interesting to think about or for you guys to write about, probably. But we don’t have enough information right now so we’ll figure that out when we get to it.”

For the Blackhawks, they have to be happy about DeBrincat’s AAV coming in under $7 million after seeing how the market for wingers played out this summer. It gives the organization financial wiggle room in the short term to continue building around the core group rather than subtracting pieces to make it work, further indicating that the time to win is now.

"I think each situation is a little different,” Bowman said. “In this case, it was beneficial for him and for us. Certainly, the bridge deal allows the team some more flexibility over the next few years. To have some cap management and certainly the player is going to be rewarded as you go. He’s certainly still well-paid in the meantime and he’s still pretty young when he hits his next deal as well.

"There’s a give and take there, but helping the team have some flexibility while also rewarding the player, when deals come together is when both sides feel it works for them. That’s how we got to this point."

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