No. 7: Drafting Alex DeBrincat
The NHL draft hasn’t been met with a large reaction from a portion of the Blackhawks fan base in recent years, mostly because the Blackhawks are always picking toward the end of rounds and not picking often because they move their choices in trade-deadline deals.
That will certainly be different in 2017, with the draft in Chicago. But Blackhawks fans should also be excited about what happened in the 2016 draft, particularly in the second round.
The Blackhawks used the first of a trio of second-round picks, acquired in the offseason deals that sent Andrew Shaw, Teuvo Teravainen and Bryan Bickell out of town, to select forward Alex DeBrincat (39th overall).
He is lighting up the Ontario Hockey League again this season after consecutive 100-point campaigns in 2014-15 and 2015-16. He had those two seasons while playing with Connor McDavid and Dylan Strome. You may have heard of them.
Well, neither one is lining up with DeBrincat this year, and he’s still scoring like a mad man. He has an outrageous 60 points in 28 games so far this OHL season, easily among the league leaders (Erie Otters teammate Taylor Raddysh tops the list with 61 points).
DeBrincat was passed over earlier in the draft because of his size (5-foot-7, 170 pounds). The Blackhawks have never had a problem taking undersized forwards, and it looks like they might’ve found a diamond in the rough here. And now he’s even more motivated, as he was strangely passed over for making the United States’ IIHF World Juniors roster earlier this month.
Wait, a U.S. international team organization committee screwed up its roster? Color me shocked.