Hockey has always been portrayed as the sport in which you need to be the biggest, fastest, most unique player around to succeed. With the game transforming and a faster-paced, less aggressive league, Chicago Blackhawks forward Alex DeBrincat has been able to defy the old saying “size matters.”
Being 5-foot-7, 165 pounds in the National Hockey League is no easy task. Just ask Chicago Blackhawks forward Alex DeBrincat. Like retired former Tampa Bay Lightning super star Martin St. Louis, his career was always against odds.
St. Louis was 5-8, 180 pounds, yet he still managed to win a Stanley Cup in 2004, as well as score 391 goals and 642 assists for a career total 1,033 points.
People will always tell you you’re too small, not good enough and that you’ll never make it, especially in a hard fought game like hockey. If you’re at a height disadvantage, that’s where you have to make up for it; you need to work on your shots, better release, agility, speed and hockey IQ to be a player who can be a regular in the lineup.
However, that’s exactly what the rookie DeBrincat has done, and he’s proven that you don’t need to be the biggest, baddest wolf to feed off of your prey in the wilderness we call the NHL.
Size used for own good
Throughout DeBrincat’s 18 NHL games, he’s scored 10 goals and eight assists, statistically being a point-per-game player.
Now, that’s not common in rookies breaking an NHL roster. Granted that DeBrincat is unlike any other rookie this year, and the fact that he’s been a prominent prospect for the Chicago Blackhawks for a few years, he’s still making a lot of noise with his size being accounted for.
Da Windy City
The reason why DeBrincat is able to do so well in this league is because of how he manipulated his size. He has been able to use his lower center of gravity to be more agile, more slick and most importantly, more sleek with the puck.
Be as it may, he may not be able to do much defensively with his size, but that’s why he’s a forward and why he’s on a line with Patrick Sharp and Ryan Hartman, who can make up for that defensive portion.
Throughout the season, we’ve been able to see DeBrincat score a variety of goals, create astounding plays in the offensive zone and weave in and out of players with the puck to work toward getting his team on the board.
Without having to focus on how big he has to be, DeBrincat was able to focus on his nifty hand-eye, puck handling skills, shot accuracy and most importantly, his hockey IQ.
For me, I haven’t seen a rookie this year who is as smart as DeBrincat. He seems to know what to do in certain situations that you’d see a veteran do. He can read the defense as if it were a Dr. Seuss book, and can find out where a teammate will go without second guessing it.
Look at the Blackhawks’ 7-3 win versus the Anaheim Ducks. His three goals and assist were greatly assisted by his teammates, but without his IQ of where to go, where to be and what to do, he couldn’t have scored a couple of those goals. Sometimes bounces go your way, other times you have to go for the expected bounces. That’s what makes the difference between good players and great players.
DeBrincat is going to be an outstanding Blackhawk for years to come. Although at some point he may be hard to afford, he’s worth it. His size is what makes him unique, and he truly puts the old idea that size matters to rest.