Takeaway #2: What has happened to Alex DeBrincat?
Throughout the season, it is evident that Alex DeBrincat has taken a step back since he signed a contract extension this past summer. Coming off of a season in which he scored 41 goals last year, he was only able to score 18 goals this past season. Some good news for the Hawks is that he is still under his entry-level contract this season, but if his current performance continues when his $6.4 million contract kicks in next season, Chicago could be into some salary cap trouble once again.
While DeBrincat has been playing fairly well in his first-ever playoff appearance so far, (4 assists in 6 games) he still has yet to score a goal. This is not a good sign, as he has been playing with Kirby Dach and Patrick Kane for the majority of the playoff run. He had an impressive training camp, as he scored some goals and had some slick assists during team scrimmages.
Could DeBrincat be becoming more of a playmaker instead of a pure sniper? He has not tallied a goal in his last 9 games but has had 7 assists over that span. His skating ability and speed still look to be top-notch, but his shot accuracy has not been the same this season.
His secondary assist in Game 2 did set the table for the pretty passing play that the Hawks used to tie the game, (see above) but the Blackhawks will need to have DeBrincat contribute some depth scoring if they want to advance further in the postseason. When you give a contract extension that big to a former 40 goal scorer, they need to put the puck into the back of the net in the postseason.