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Everything Alex DeBrincat and Steve Yzerman said at introductory presser

The Detroit Red Wings got their man yesterday evening, finally bringing in forward Alex DeBrincat from the Ottawa Senators. In return, they sent forward Dominik Kubalik, prospect defenseman Donovan Sebrango, a conditional first-round pick in the 2024 draft, and a fourth-round pick in the 2024 Draft. Immediately afterward, it was announced that DeBrincat had agreed to a four-year contract extension worth $31.5 million (an average of $7.875 million a year).

Steve Yzerman Detroit Red Wings Kris Draper Axel Sandin Pellikka

Steve Yzerman explained his acquisition of DeBrincat and how he views him

Both Yzerman and DeBrincat met with the media this morning via Zoom, and had lots to say about the trade.

“Well, I think we’d all describe him as a goal-scoring winger,” Yzerman said. “We talked right around the free-agency opening there about potentially adding more goal-scoring ability to the team, and I think Alex definitely fits that bill. He’s a very intelligent hockey player, has shown he can score goals at every level at junior and the NHL, and a very intelligent player and fits in nicely on the wing with us with whomever Coach (Lalonde) decides to play him with.”

“I would say that I think we’re a better team today with Alex DeBrincat in the lineup,” he said. “I hope all of the changes that we made and additions to the roster make us a more competitive team.”

DeBrincat’s camp was reportedly looking for an extension up to eight years long, but was able to settle for half of that. How did Yzerman manage to pull that off?

It was a number we were both comfortable with, bringing a player in and things are changing; you’re starting to see more players, at least this offseason and I think it might be a trend, more players are signing shorter term contracts and not neccesarily going the full seven and eight years,” Yzerman said.

On Alex DeBrincat’s goal-scoring potential in Detroit

Sure, I’m not going to set a number on it, but I think he’s more than a goal scorer,” Yzerman said. “He’s a smart player, he passes and manages the puck extremely well. He’s a good linemate he’s not just a shooter but he can make plays. He’s valuable on the power play and does a good job 5-on-5.

On adding a sniper to the lineup:

“There are a limited number of what we’d call a true goal scorer; there aren’t a lot of them in the League who get it on their stick and every time they shoot, it looks like it’s going in,” he said. “I think we’d categorize Alex in that mold as a sniper; one shot can change a game. I think with our players, you’ve seen at the Deadline me trading actual hockey players for draft picks, and the players have to have players to play with.”

“I ran into Ben Chiarot in the hallway on my way upstairs, he’s excited that we brought Alex and other players in because they want to be as competitive as they can be. I think the guys will feel good that we’ve added NHL quality players to the roster, and we hope to be more competitive and the players will feed off of that.

On remaining salary cap space

Not today I don’t,” he said with a smile when asked if he has plans to reach the salary cap ceiling. “I’m not going to rule anything out; if there’s a great player out there and we can acquire him, that forces us to go where we would strongly consider it. We’re not restrained by finances, we are restrained by the salary cap. We’re not just going to go to the cap, but if an opportunity comes along that makes our team better, we’re prepared to do that. Having said that, I’m not aware of any scenario that would happen at this time, I don’t see us doing a whole lot more.”

Was there surprise DeBrincat was available?

“Not really,” he said. “It looks like just watching from afar that a lot of the U.S. kids have a desire to come and play in U.S. markets, and you could ask each of them what their reasoning is for that. We’re following all of this stuff in the media and when we find that Alex is available, I can’t say that we’re shocked. As we find out that’s actually a possibility that they might move him, we started to think about if it’s a good fit for us and if it makes sense, and ultimately came to the decision that we think it does.”

“We touched base and I think he’s in the area this week, maybe pop down to LCA one day, but yeah, he expressed a real excitement about playing in his home city and growing up here in Detroit. I think it’s a little bit for us for an added bonus to have local players like Dylan, Andrew Copp, and Austin Czarnik in the organization; to have local ties it’s great for these players but also great for our market.”

On his “contract philosophy”

“I don’t know if I have a hard-set philosophy on contracts,” he said. “There’s risk in every deal you do; you do short-term risk and lose control of the player on the back end, and the long-term risk as we know is that a lot of things can happen on a long-term deal that can affect a player’s ability to perform.”

“I try to make a deal with the player and understand what they’re looking for and what is important to them, and try to get a deal done. But ultimately, I would call this a middle-term deal. I like these mid-term deals because you get to know the player. Once he comes to your organization, you really get to know them and their comfort level. And we can go back at it. But these mid-term deals I think are a good compromise for both sides.”

Alex DeBrincat described coming to Detroit as a ‘dream come true’

“It was awesome when we found out everything was going to be done,” DeBrincat said of his conversation with Yzerman last night. “He called me a little later last night and we chatted for a couple minutes; I told him I’m excited to be here and I’m excited for the opportunity that this team is giving me. He went through what would be our team and what it would be like; it was a good chat.”

“It’s super exciting, obviously growing up here and rooting for the Red Wings when I was younger. It’s definitely a dream come true, and I don’t think anyone is happier than my parents. Everyone is happy for me and it’s a good spot.”

On helping Detroit return to the playoffs

“For sure, I’m definitely confident in my abilities, I think that this team is a good fit for me and obviously, hopefully, we can get back into the playoffs,” he said. “That’s everyone’s goal, and hopefully, it’s sooner than later. We just gotta keep growing as a team and I think put in the work to get back there.”

On talking with fellow Michigander Dylan Larkin

“He said obviously all good things,” DeBrincat said of Larkin. “I’ve known quite a few people who have played here, so he didn’t have to go into it too much. I think it was a good fit for me, and we both agreed it would be fun to play together. We’re happy it’s going to happen now and hopefully gain some chemistry.”

On his feisty playing style despite being 5’8

“I think that’s maybe not a huge part of my game, but I try not to back down from anyone,” he said. “I think being a smaller forward in the League, sometimes people can try and bully you around. But that’s something I try to not let get taken too out of hand; I think I can hold my own. It keeps me engaged in the game, but that’s not my main goal in the game.”

His favorite Red Wings memory growing up

“Obviously answer is them winning (the Cup) in 2008 was the one I remember the most,” he said. “Obviously 2002 I remember a little bit, but ’08 I was really invested. I think they were so successful in my childhood, it was so fun to watch. That’s a big reason I play the game, and to get to that point and that success is a goal in mind, and hopefully we can be successful here again.”

On returning to Michigan during the summer

“I’ve been back in Michigan for the past three or four summers now,” he said. “My first few years in Chicago I stayed there, but I’ve been coming back ever since.”

Key Points

  • The Red Wings pulled off a heist, landing Alex DeBrincat from Ottawa last night
  • After the trade, they announced a four-year $31.5 million contract extension
  • Steve Yzerman spoke glowingly about DeBrincat’s abilities while describing his own philosophy
  • Yzerman also hinted that Detroit wasn’t going to be making more moves, but left the door open
  • DeBrincat is excited to come home, calling it a ‘dream come true’

Bottom Line

The acquisition of Alex DeBrincat gives the Red Wings arguably their biggest goal scoring threat since Marian Hossa‘s 40 goals in his lone season in Detroit of 2008-09, which we will not get into how it ultimately ended.

Like DeBrincat, we are thrilled to have him in Detroit and look forward to him being a regular on the scoresheet this year and in the seasons to come!

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