There are only a few Chicago Blackhawks who will be getting A’s this season on their player grade. It’s a safe bet that Alex DeBrincat has achieved an A throughout the 2018-19′ season.
There is no such thing as the sophomore slump or second-year jitters in DeBrincat’s world. After being a star-studded icon in his rookie season, scoring 28 goals and 24 assists for 52 points, everyone knew there was definite potential with this kid. He was a grace-from-god elite player who, if handled properly, could make the Blackhawks’ top-six one of the scariest groups in the NHL.
In his second year, DeBrincat put the pedal to the metal, scoring 41 goals and 35 assists for 76 points on the year, which is 24 more points than his rookie season. Usually, players find it tough to find their groove after the honeymoon phase of their NHL career is over. When that fresh buzz is gone, it can be hard to get back into action. DeBrincat? —Luckily, the groove is in his blood.
Da Windy City
Let’s Take a Look.
The Chicago Blackhawks missed the playoffs, but it doesn’t mean there weren’t any individual efforts that should go unnoticed. Plenty of players had great years, such as Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Erik Gustafsson, Cam Ward, and Dylan Strome. However, DeBrincat is almost unmatched in regards to the others based on how quickly he turned his game from impressive to downright elite.
The Blackhawks needed major contributions from their top six in order to make any noise this year. If they were going to have any shot at winning games, they needed to score at least four goals a night to stay alive with their terrible defense. The ‘Hawks did fairly well in keeping up as the season went along, but keeping up won’t win you hockey games. When they’d score four or five goals a night, it would go unnoticed because of the further flaws of the team that cursed them to lose night after night.
DeBrincat Evolves His Play, With or Without Teammates.
Some would like to argue that DeBrincat wouldn’t be where is right now if it weren’t for Kane, and you’re not wrong. They both fed off of one another this season, similar to how Kane and Artemi Panarin did just two years ago, but this time it was different.
DeBrincat gained a different hockey mindset. He found easier ways to get to the net, sneaking behind defenders like, well, a cat.
He knows where to be at all times, no matter who is passing him the puck. Whether it be Domink Kahun, Kane, or Strome, he knows where they like to pass the puck and he does his best to finish the plays.
Such as this clip of his fourth-career hat trick versus the Ottawa Senators. In a game where the Blackhawks needed to put up six-goals to win against one of the worst NHL teams, DeBrincat came through with a hockey skillset you don’t see very often in a 21-year-old.
The Blackhawks are very fortunate to have a player like DeBrincat on the roster. His evolved play, stacked confidence, comfortability, and eyes-on-the-ice are absolutely unmatched on the team right now. He’s going to be needed a hefty contract, probably $7.5M for seven years, if we’re lucky.
Believe it or not, but there is an insane amount of potential with DeBrincat on this roster. He’s versatile with any line, and can contribute like an elite veteran who’s thirsty for his first Stanley Cup.
Consider this generous, but I’m giving DeBrincat a final grade of A this year. He deserves it after all. He completely raised the bar and didn’t settle for anything less. Not to mention, it seems as if he’s fired up for next year, as he wasn’t too happy with how things turned out at the end of this season.
Wouldn’t be surprised if he decides to take it up a notch next year. Could we see a 80-point year?
Never say never.
Da Windy City