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DeBrincat: 'I was ready to be in Chicago for a long time'

/ by Charlie Roumeliotis
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
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Alex DeBrincat

MONTREAL — Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson declared a rebuild in March, but it really wasn't until Thursday that things got real after Alex DeBrincat was traded to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for three draft picks, including the No. 7 overall selection.

DeBrincat knew his name had been in the rumor mill leading up to the 2022 NHL Draft, and yet it still came as a surprise to him when the trade actually went down.

"The immediate reaction was just shock," DeBrincat said in a video conference call on Friday afternoon. "I saw some rumors and stuff, but until it actually happens, it doesn't really hit you. You don't really think they're true until it comes true. I knew they were around for a while and thought maybe there was a possibility to get moved, but it doesn't really hit you until it's actually done.

"You think about all the good times I had in Chicago and how great they were to me. I'm definitely sad leaving, but it's a new adventure for me and I'm super excited to start with them."

Alex DeBrincat 'shocked' Blackhawks traded him to Ottawa

DeBrincat was one of the first players to publicly voice his support of the rebuild and the organizational direction, no matter how long it took. He's a loyal guy at heart and was prepared to play a significant leadership role throughout the process.

The Blackhawks, however, felt there was an opportunity to accumulate future assets in the form of draft capital and it's hard to blame them, given how bare the farm system is. But it doesn't make the trade hurt any less if you're a Chicago fan, which also expected a larger return for the two-time 40-goal scorer.


"I didn't necessarily see this coming," DeBrincat said. "I saw the rumors and stuff, and I'd had a couple conversations with Kyle, I knew it was a possibility, but I was ready to be in Chicago for a long time. That was just the way I thought about it. I've never been traded before in any league — I kind of stick to the same teams for the most part — so this is a different experience for me.

"Chicago was great for me. I don't have any bad words about my time there. But I'm super excited to play some meaningful games and join this young group and hopefully we can do something special."

DeBrincat had nothing but positive things to say about the fan support he had received over the years. The appreciation was mutual, and he hopes that will continue, even as he enters a new chapter with Ottawa.

"They were great for me for my five years there," DeBrincat said. "It was awesome to play in front of them. They really embraced the type of player I was. I loved them and they loved me and it was pretty cool to enjoy that and have that experience there. It's awesome to hear they really enjoyed watching me play and hopefully they're still going to be following me."

Alex DeBrincat expresses his love for Blackhawks' fans after trade

And of course, we couldn't wrap things up without asking about his relationship with Patrick Kane. The two of them were human highlight reels when they played together and put on shows at the United Center on a nightly basis.

"He's taught me a lot," DeBrincat said of Kane. "From my first year, you come in and watch him and see how much of a professional he is. He teaches you that work ethic you need to be the best. He's a competitive guy just like me, and we've had a couple battles in the past, but he's a great friend to me. It's tough because I have so many friends in Chicago, but hopefully I'll get to see them soon and hopefully I'm scoring goals on them in no time."

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