The hype surrounding Alex DeBrincat is real, and he's not making it easy for Blackhawks fans to temper their expectations of Chicago's top prospect.
After a quiet prospect camp in July, the 5-foot-6, 165-pound winger shined in game action during the Traverse City prospect tournament, scoring a goal in each of the team's four tilts and helping the Blackhawks win their first ever title in the event.
Most importantly, DeBrincat saved his best for last when all the marbles were on the line by finding the back of the net twice in Tuesday's championship game, including the overtime winner to secure a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Scoring goals isn't news to anyone who has been following his progression. He became the Erie Otters' all-time leading goal scorer in his final OHL season, and was named the league's top player after racking up 127 points (65 goals, 62 assists) in 63 games.
It's really not that he's scoring goals that's impressive, it's how he's doing it. DeBrincat is an aggressive forechecker who goes hard to the net, where he often makes his living. His size won't prevent him from going into the dirty areas; in fact, he thrives off of it.
But he also showed off his quick and lethal wrist shot, proving he can score in many different ways.
That type of skill and versatility will make it difficult for Joel Quenneville's staff to leave him off the Opening Day roster, especially if DeBrincat continues to impress when training camp begins Friday.
It may still be a stretch to believe the Blackhawks will throw the 19-year-old into the fire right away against the highest level of competition, but if he continues to produce, it will be hard to ignore.