Blackhawks: Alex DeBrincat leaves reasons for hope after 2020 playoffs
By Justin Klawans
With the Chicago Blackhawks having completed their 2020 season, there were a number of players that didn’t have great years. #12 definitely falls into that category.
Despite the mediocre season and playoff performance, Alex DeBrincat still has plenty of reasons to hope for a rebound campaign in 2021. The young winger entered the 2020 season coming off of a fantastic year in 2018-19 but struggled to put up consistent offensive contributions as the months went on.
The small-statured young gun originally came into the league as somewhat of a question mark. Although he put up monstrous numbers playing for the Erie Otters (alongside Connor McDavid for a while), some analysts worried whether his small frame would be able to make it in the NHL.
Those worries were quickly squashed in DeBrincat’s first year of play as he broke into the league as a force of nature. His second year was even better as he scored 41-25–76, a fantastic season by any standards. Having avoided the dreaded sophomore slump, many were expecting even greater things in his third season.
Instead, DeBrincat’s production tailed off as he only found the back of the net 18 times, and only twice in the playoffs. While this is not a horrible season, it is one that he would probably like to forget. The winger has come to expect a lot, especially from himself, as he stated in an interview with Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times:
DeBrincat also stated that, despite the poor numbers this year, he is confident that the adversity will help him in the long run:
Breaking down the youngster’s offensive stats, it is easy to get concerned that the low production could hinder his confidence, but it doesn’t seem that DeBrincat is willing to let that happen. After all, he signed a significant contract extension last year, and with this season behind him, he should do nothing except look to the future.
2019-20 Season Statistics
Games Played: 70
Games Played: 9
What’s Next For DeBrincat?
Being only 5″7, 165 lbs, DeBrincat had to prove that he was capable of handling himself not only in the NHL, but in the playoffs, which is often a whole different game. I would say that he has done that, but the Blackhawks really cannot afford another season of this type of production from him.
That being said, I think that it would do wonders for Jeremy Colliton to start shifting DeBrincat around on lines. He has played much better and put up better numbers when he was anchored on a line with Patrick Kane. DeBrincat’s third line pairing with Dylan Strome and Brandon Saad was certainly not that effective in the playoffs, and while Colliton obviously wants to spread talent to different lines, putting DeBrincat back where he was most productive may be a saving grace.
Basically, DeBrincat has had two great seasons, and one less than the average one. I would grade this past season as a C overall. His first experience in the Stanley Cup Playoffs was a good experience for him, but it only served to show off more of the same poor production that plagued him all year. Hopefully, DeBrincat can ramp up production next year and join the rest of a rejuvenated Hawks team is beginning to claw their way back towards the top of the league.