Blackhawks

Blackhawks sign Alex DeBrincat to three-year extension

Blackhawks sign Alex DeBrincat to three-year extension

PRAGUE — The Blackhawks got out in front of a major housekeeping item on Thursday, announcing that they have agreed to terms with Alex DeBrincat on a three-year contract extension that carries an average annual value of $6.4 million. The deal runs through the 2022-23 campaign.

It's great news for the player and team after we saw a plethora of restricted free agents take their holdouts late into the summer and some into training camp. And it comes at a number that's fair for both parties with DeBrincat set to become an RFA next summer.

"Yeah it's nice," DeBrincat said on Thursday. "I think to get this done early, it shows they have confidence in me. I didn't want to wait. I didn't want to be waiting around like a lot of the RFAs this year so it's good to have it done, focus on the season, be a good team and win some games."

GM Stan Bowman is equally satisfied about getting the deal done early because it gives him a better idea of the financial outlook a year in advance. 

"Great news for everyone," Bowman said. "Congrats to Alex, first off. He deserves it. What a great first two seasons he’s had. I think he’s just scratching the surface. To score 40 goals in his second year and I think he’s got a lot of great years ahead of him. ... From the beginning, it was apparent they wanted to get the deal done and I think it was a deal that works both for us and for him and rewards him for his performance and it sets us up well for where we’re headed."

Drafted in the second round (No. 39 overall) of the 2016 NHL Draft, DeBrincat followed up his 28-goal rookie season with 41 in his sophomore campaign in 2018-19. He will become the third-highest paid forward on the Blackhawks next season.

But most importantly for him, DeBrincat signing his new deal one day before 2019 Opening Night eliminates a potential in-season distraction even though he didn't believe it would be one.

"I think from the start I always wanted to get it done early," DeBrincat said. "I'm not really worried about it. When they came to offer us a contract it was a pretty easy decision for me to get it done now and just focus on the season."

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Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Are the Blackhawks a playoff team?

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USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Are the Blackhawks a playoff team?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Adam Burish and Charlie Roumeliotis break down the loss to the Hurricanes, possible changes to the power play, and how Charlie may be partially responsible for Erik Gustafsson's goal scoring streak.

01:30 Looking at the loss to the Hurricanes

05:00 On coming to Kane's defense after hard hit late in the game

06:30 Lehner's assessment of the team

08:30 Are the Blackhawks a playoff team?

11:00 Should there be changes to the Blackhawks power play

13:30 Gustafsson and other defensemen generating offense

19:00 Is great goaltending masking some of the team's offensive problems

22:00 Adam's favorite moments from his honeymoon's travels

24:30 Charlie's gambling adventures in Las Vegas

Listen here or in the embedded player below. 

 

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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Four takeaways: Blackhawks make late push but fall to Hurricanes

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USA Today

Four takeaways: Blackhawks make late push but fall to Hurricanes

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes at the United Center on Tuesday:

1. Winning streak comes to a halt

The Blackhawks had picked up at least a point in eight of their past nine games and had the second-most points out of any team in November going into Tuesday's matchup. But they laid an egg against the Hurricanes, at least for the first 40 minutes.

The Hurricanes dominated the Blackhawks in every offensive category through two periods, including shot attempts (48-33), shots on goal (27-12), even-strength scoring chances (24-13) and even-strength high-danger chances (9-3), according to Natural Stat Trick. They also scored the first three goals of the game.

The Blackhawks made a big push in the third period by outshooting the Hurricanes 20-6 and scoring two goals in a span of 1:10, but they couldn't get that third one.

"Two bad periods, one good one," Lehner said. "We've been playing pretty good. Just gotta go win the next one. Don't lose two in a row. We're fine. We're fine. Everyone's just got to be a little bit better. I let in a bad goal and bad timing on the second one. Got a little bit unlucky. We've just got to try to get that push and we had a push. Unfortunately we couldn't tie it up."

2. A slow start

After scoring the first two goals in five of the past six games, the Blackhawks got off to a slow start and dug themselves too big of a hole to overcome. They registered only four shots on goal in the first period and allowed the Hurricanes to score three straight to open the game, with the second goal coming 53 seconds into the middle frame.

The first goal of the game came on a 2-on-0 in which Lehner had no chance of stopping. It could've been a much more lopsided first period on the scoresheet, with the Hurricanes generating 13 scoring chances to the Blackhawks' three.

"Obviously, disappointed in the first two periods, the result of the game of course, but we didn't have a good start and I thought we got worse in the second so that was disappointing," head coach Jeremy Colliton said. "I liked that we didn't quit, that was a positive, and I liked that we showed some fight in the third and we got going and put a scare into them.

"But it's frustrating because we showed that was a winnable game if we played, if we turned on a little bit earlier. We've had a good stretch and that was a setback and now we've got to respond on Thursday."

3. Too little, too late

Since the calendar flipped to November, no team had scored more goals than the Blackhawks (36) going into Tuesday. They had 21 goals in their previous four contests for an average of 5.25 goals per game.

It didn't look like the Blackhawks had much hope until the third period when they peppered the Hurricanes with 32 shot attempts, 19 scoring chances and 13 high-danger chances. Erik Gustafsson and Connor Murphy scored within a span of 1:10 to pull the Blackhawks within one, but it was too little, too late for the offense.

"We were just hungry," Murphy said of the third period. "We were embarrassed at home to give up the chances that we did and to get outplayed for a lot of it just as far as the races and seemed like a lot of those battles. We knew at home we wanted this year to be a prideful team and we have guys that want to push to make sure that we can come back. We know the power that we have, we can score three goals and we almost did."

4. Rough night for DeBrincat-Strome-Kane line

The Blackhawks' second line of Alex DeBrincat, Patrick Kane and Dylan Strome has been lights out since being reunited on Nov. 2 against Anaheim. But it had a tough night together vs. Carolina. 

When the three of them were on the ice at even strength, the Blackhawks had three shot attempts for and 14 against, two shots on goal for and nine against, three scoring chances for and six against and one high-danger chance for and two against in 8:45 of ice time. 

They were separated in the third period with Kirby Dach taking Strome's place on the second line, and the line changes sparked the entire team. Kane recorded two primary assists in the third period to extend his season-long point streak to 10 games, marking his sixth career NHL point streak of at least 10 games. Only Denis Savard has more (13) in a Blackhawks sweater.

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