What Line Will Chicago Blackhawks’ Alex DeBrincat Play On in 2018-19?
By Samuel Boland
Last season, Alex DeBrincat stole the show for the Chicago Blackhawks and led the team in goals. Now, we take a look at where he could line up this season.
Throughout last year, DeBrincat bounced around a considerable amount. Coach Joel Quenneville was able to hide him from tough opposing match ups by keeping him in a bottom-six role. However, the Blackhawks aren’t in a position to keep DeBrincat playing less minutes if he can seriously produce. This begs the question of where exactly Alex will find himself during the 2018-19 season. This morning, Blackhawk Up took to Twitter to ask fans where they felt DeBrincat fit in best.
Now, we take a look at your responses and share where DeBrincat should, and shouldn’t, line up.
This combination earned the highest percentage of fan votes with 64%. Of all the line combinations the Blackhawks have, this one looks to be the most entertaining by a landslide. Nick Schmaltz took a big step in his game last season. Nick was one of three players tied for second in points on the Blackhawks last season with 52 total. He scored 21 goals and added 31 assists on the year. One of the biggest knocks on Schmaltz is his tendency to pass out of scoring chances.
Da Windy City
On the topic, Nick told the Chicago Sun-Times “Personally, I’d rather set up a guy and have him score a goal than score a goal myself. I like making good plays. But you’ve got to find that balance. You’ve got to be a threat with the shot, too.”
His maturity here is undeniable. Not only does Nick identify a problem within his game here, but he also understands what it is going to take to fix it and make himself the best player he can be. At only 22, it’s encouraging to see such a strong mind on a young player.
Last season, Nick scored 21 goals, third best for the Blackhawks. He only shot the puck 118 times, giving him the ninth highest shot number on the team. That’s 25 less than Patrick Sharp, who played in eight less games. Additionally, it’s 119 less than Brandon Saad’s 237. It’s worth noting that Saad scored three less goals than Schmaltz.
Playing on a line with Patrick Kane, one of the most creative players in the world, and Alex DeBrincat, a dynamic scorer who will draw a lot of defensive attention, could be huge for Schmaltz’s goal output. With the pressure that Kane and DeBrincat will generate, Nick should see a significant amount of grade-A opportunities next season. With his new attitude and goal of being a “threat with the shot,” this could bode well for Chicago.
In the past, Schmaltz and Kane have played incredibly well together. Here’s one such examples to help refresh your memory.
Schmaltz and Kane are able to feed off of each others creativity. If you add a dangerous goal scorer like DeBrincat to the mix, things could get dangerous. The three of them together could create the most dynamic, and dangerous, scoring line the Blackhawks have seen in a long time.