First thing’s first, congrats to Alex DeBrincat on 100 career assists, and he’ll hit 100 career goals by the end of the week at this rate. It’s no secret to Chicago Blackhawks fans that the sniper had his struggles last season, but this year DeBrincat is a man on a mission to show that his woes are behind him. I know most people plugged into hockey know that DeBrincat is good, but this year he is breaking out to be something truly special. What’s going on?
One thing that’s a massive help to DeBrincat this season, and probably the most notable on the scoresheet, is his shooting percentage climbed back up to better reflect his average his first two seasons.
Last year, DeBrincat couldn’t buy a goal, shooting a paltry 8.7% on his way to 18 goals through 70 games. He is going to smash that this year, already having accumulated 12 goals through 20 games on a shooting percentage over his average and up to 17.6% (for reference, his career mark is 14.6%).
The most encouraging thing about his offense, in general, is a lot of it is coming at 5vs5. He’s productive on the power play, but he isn’t getting the goal production there he typically does (only 3 PP goals this season) DeBrincat’s 11 goals and 25 points so far could be even higher. The 17 points he has 5vs5 ranks 10th in the league, ahead of players like Stone, Backstrom, Barzal, Pastrnak, Marchand, and MacKinnon.
For Alex DeBrincat, it is more than just scoring goals with the Chicago Blackhawks.
DeBrincat’s advanced stats are amazing too. His 3.190 even-strength points per 60 is 12th in the NHL and leads former Otters teammate and MVP favorite Connor McDavid, and last year’s winner in Leon Draisaitl. He’s fifth in goals created. In terms of 5vs5 stats, he’s top 15 in nearly every offensive category.
Here’s the thing with DeBrincat though, this year he’s evolved into so much more than just a pure goal scorer. He’s driving play offensively and playing a solid 200ft game. His 16 takeaways are top marks on this Hawks team.
He’s doing things the Blackhawks have been without since Marian Hossa last suited up with how tenacious he is after the puck, how darn good at stripping and taking the puck as he is, and how high-caliber his offensive game is. He’s crushing it at even-strength.
It’s incredible to watch him become a complete hockey player, and there’s a good reason why he’s been given an “A” to wear. It’s a treat to watch him become a truly complete and special player for this Blackhawks team.