Blackhawks: How Alex DeBrincat can stand out next year
By Andrew Neave
With the current season still on hold, I take a look at Alex DeBrincat and why he’ll be a force to reckon with next season if the Chicago Blackhawks use him the right way.
When I think of Alex DeBrincat, I think what a steal he was for the Chicago Blackhawks. Many people weren’t sure that he could make it in the NHL given his size of only 5-foot-7. It wasn’t till the Blackhawks drafted him with pick number 39 in the second round of the 2016 draft, that’s he had a chance to prove himself.
After a solid training camp, he surprisingly made the opening night roster and went on to play the full 82 games that season. He managed to have a very solid rookie season and had a total of 52 points (28 G, 24 A).
Looking to build off a very good rookie season, DeBrincat was given more ice time and more power-play time. He really established himself as a big player for the Blackhawks. He played a lot with Patrick Kane and they build some good chemistry.
Then an old friend arrived in the shape of Dylan Strome from the Arizona Coyotes via a trade. They played junior hockey together at Erie Otters and they were best friends on and off the ice. They were soon put together on the same line. They had chemistry straight away and a certain Patrick Kane was put with them and they were a line that was producing every night.
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That season which was the 18-19 season, was his best so far with a total of 79 points (41 G, 35 A). He truly proved himself as a sniper in the NHL and a player that would have a bright future ahead of him.
This current season hasn’t been as easy. He has been all over the line up playing on the top line with Toews, the second time with Kane and the third line with Dach. With 45 points through 70 games, this is not what he or the Blackhawks were expecting coming off the preview season.
How can the Blackhawks change this?
Any players need consistency and playing him all over the line up just isn’t going to help him. Every time he’s put on a new line he’s having to learn how to play with them and that’s not ideal. Chemistry comes when you just play your natural game and you naturally know where your linemate is. When you keep having different linemates you are having to learn everything from scratch.
When you have a sniper-like DeBrincat is, you have to get him into the scoring positions where he’s at his best. There’s no doubt he can put the puck into the net but you have to give him the opportunity. The best way to do this is to put him on a line with someone who can find a pass and make space for his linemate and we happen to have one of the best in the NHL in the shape of Patrick Kane.
Another way to get the best out of him would be to put him back on a line with his best friend Dylan Strome. To me, this is a win-win! They both play there best hockey when they’re on the same line. They have chemistry and there is no denying that fact. So add Kane to that line then you have a great line that will get you goals and momentum.
One of the reasons why DeBrincat scorer 41 goals in are the second season was that he was playing with Kane for a good portion of that year.
So when you have a talented player like DeBrincat is, you have to give him every opportunity to do what he does best.