Chicago Blackhawks: What to make of Alex DeBrincat

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images /

Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex DeBrincat has been the focus of the preseason. How has the young forward looked so far and what does the young winger need to work on in order to be a mainstay in the Hawks lineup?

For the last three seasons, Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex DeBrincat has dominated the Ontario Hockey League.

Per the Hockey DB, the 19-year old forward averaged 110 points a season. This past season he tallied 65 goals in 63 games for the Erie Otters en route to the OHL championship.

With sometimes unreasonable expectations set by his success in the OHL, how has DeBrincat fared against more NHL ready competition?

Game-winner gives Hawks Traverse City title

DeBrincat traveled with a group of Hawks prospects to take part in the NHL Prospect Tournament where he led the team with 5 goals. The most notable is the tournament clincher below.

Contributing in the preseason

So far, DeBrincat’s offensive production has translated in the preseason. In four games, he’s tallied two goals and an assist. His scoring ability will give him a leg up on making the opening night roster. Specifically, it may help the Hawks replace 119 points after losing Artemi Panarin and Marian Hossa.

Why he may not stick around

For all the offensive skill that DeBrincat possesses, there are still issues that will need to be worked out in order for him to stick in the NHL.

Size matters

One glaring issue that may prevent DeBrincat from being a mainstay on the Hawks roster is his size.

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Officially, he is listed at 5’7, 165 pounds: the smallest of any Blackhawks player. The front office has emphasized speed over size, but putting DeBrincat on a line with Patrick Kane and Nick Schmaltz will offer no protection from opposing teams’ lower lines. At only 19 years of age, he has plenty of time to put on added size and strength in order to hold up in an 82-game season.

Defensive Miscues

The quickest way out of a Joel Quenneville-coached team is a propensity for turning the puck over. In a game against Columbus, DeBrincat had two first-period turnovers, one of which resulted in a Blue Jacket goal. If the Michigan native wants to stay in the NHL, he must cut down on these costly mistakes.

Next: What to expect from Brandon Saad this season

What to expect this season

All signs suggest that DeBrincat will make the opening night roster. In fact, he’s earned the right to do so. But transitioning from the OHL to the NHL is no small feat and will pose some challenges. Do not be surprised if his initial stint with the Chicago Blackhawks is a short one and he is sent down to AHL Rockford to work on all areas of his game.