Time and money.
That is the hold up for the much anticipated marriage between the Detroit Red Wings and forward Alex DeBrincat.
General Manager Steve Yzerman is taking a hard-line stance. DeBrincat, a native of Farmington Hills, is unwilling to take a home town discount.
This is one of those strange standoffs in sports where no one is to blame but both sides are at fault.
Here is the skinny from the people I talk to.
The Red Wings and Ottawa Senators reached a tentative agreement bringing him to Detroit. That is why his name was taken off the Ottawa Senators website.
However, Yzerman is a tough negotiator. The Wings won’t make anything official until reaching an agreement with DeBrincat. Yzerman does not like long-term deals no matter who is the player because he does not want a situation where DeBrincat is stumbling across the ice like a drunken sailor at age 34 or 35.
DeBrincat wants an eight-year deal valued at between $8.75 million to $9 million per season.
Yzerman won’t move off five-years at $7.5 million a year. The number of years is more important to Yzerman than the money. He does not want a replay of the Tigers Miggy deal where slugger Miguel Cabrera still commands a huge salary despite minimal production on a losing team.
DeBrincat, 25, says he wants to play for the Red Wings but in his defense this is his last chance at a big contract.
So the Red Wings and DeBrincat must find a compromise to make this happen.
The Wings do not want to pay DeBrincat more than Captain Dylan Larkin (eight-years, $69.5 million). Unless they swing for the fences and obtain Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews, the next Wing to earn $9 million or more will be defenseman Mo Seider.
For many this is a no-brainer to sign DeBrincat no matter the cost. They point to 2019 and 2022 when DeBrincat scored 41 goals in both seasons. Those are lofty numbers for a goal starved Red Wings franchise. On the other hand the Wings are cautious because DeBrincat is a little fellow (5-foot-7) and he scored 27 goals last season with Ottawa and had a minus 31 plus-minus rating.
DeBrincat’s name was taking off the Ottawa Senators website, which caused a stir in Detroit. It is believed that is when the Senators and Red Wings reached a tentative deal. However, the Red Wings don’t want to make anything official until they can reach a long-term deal with the restricted free agent.
He can become an unrestricted free agent next summer and be free to sign with any team.
For more from the author Terry Foster, check him out on Twitter here: @terryfosterdet
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Original Photo Credit: Stan Szeto – USA TODAY Sports