Blackhawks prospect Alex DeBrincat wins Red Tilson Trophy as OHL's most outstanding player

Blackhawks prospect Alex DeBrincat wins Red Tilson Trophy as OHL's most outstanding player

Alex DeBrincat’s current focus is to claim the trophy that’s eluded he and his Erie Otters teammates the past two seasons, the J. Ross Robertson Cup that’s earned by the Ontario Hockey League champion.

But as he pursues a team trophy, DeBrincat claimed an individual one.

DeBrincat won the Red Tilson Trophy, awarded to the OHL’s most outstanding player of the year, on Friday morning. The Blackhawks prospect set OHL highs in goals (65) and points (127) for the Otters, who are currently playing for the league championship.

The Red Tilson Trophy is voted on by writers and broadcasters who cover the OHL. DeBrincat garnered 85 percent of the first-place votes (314 points). DeBrincat is the first Blackhawks prospect to win the Red Tilson Trophy since Stan Mikita did it in 1958-59.

DeBrincat and the Otters are currently facing the Mississauga Generals for the OHL championship. The Otters took Game 1 on Thursday; Game 2 is Sunday. As for what next season holds for him with the Blackhawks, DeBrincat said he’s not sure yet.

“We haven’t had too much contact, but the contact we have had, I need to get bigger and stronger and I think they like the way I’m playing right now,” DeBrincat said of his contact with the Blackhawks’ brass. “In regard to next year, don’t think we’ve gone over that. They don’t know what they’re going to do with me, either. I have to have a big summer and get stronger and be able to play that pro game. Those are the things I need to do.”

For DeBrincat, offense hasn’t been a problem in his time with the Otters. He’s had three straight 50-plus goal and 100-plus point seasons. This season he had goals in 19 consecutive games and finished the regular season with a 27-game point streak. But DeBrincat said he has made strides in another area.

“My defensive game has come a long way. My plus-minus has been a lot better than last year,” said DeBrincat, who finished a plus-60. He was a plus-18 the previous season. “Defense is a big part of the game. If you have a good defense, you’ll be able to go on the offense. That was a big step and in the program you need to have that to win games. I think that’s the biggest thing I tried to get better at.”

DeBrincat has earned some tremendous accolades in an OHL career that isn’t over yet. He’ll be taking the next step at some point soon, and when he does he’s confident he’ll be successful there, too.

“I’ve always believed in myself,” said DeBrincat. “My (5-foot-7) height’s not a problem, but some people doubt me because of my height. I always believed in myself. It was probably minor midgets that I figured I could do something with hockey and make it a career more than just a hobby. I think that’s kind of brought me to where I am today. If I doubted myself, I probably wouldn’t be in this position.”

Blackhawks recall Dylan Sikura from Rockford

USA Today

Blackhawks recall Dylan Sikura from Rockford

The Blackhawks recalled forward Dylan Sikura from the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League, the team announced Sunday morning. In a corresponding move for financial reasons, Anton Wedin was reassigned to Rockford.

Sikura leads the IceHogs in goals (nine), points (16) and shots on goal (99) in 22 games this season. He was on a three-game point streak (one goal, two assists) prior to the call-up.

Sikura has appeared in 38 games across two seasons for the Blackhawks and is still searching for his first career NHL goal. He has 11 assists and 61 shots on goal over that span, averaging 11:34 of ice time.

Sunday's game against the Arizona Coyotes will be Sikura's first with the Blackhawks this season after starting the 2019-20 campaign in Rockford.

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Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford's 250th win puts him in elite company


Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford's 250th win puts him in elite company

Corey Crawford captured a coveted goalie milestone with another solid performance in a 2-1 shootout victory for the Blackhawks on Friday in New Jersey. The Hawks (12-12-5) beat the Atlantic division-leading Bruins 4-3 in overtime in Boston with Robin Lehner in net on Thursday before playing the Devils, last in the Metropolitan, Friday with Crawford starting. 

"It's important to try to climb back up in the standings," Crawford said following the game. "We had a few tough games, it seems like it's been pretty streaky the first quarter of the season, but when we're playing well I think we're pretty tough to beat. We just got to try to find that game as much as possible. 

"But that was obviously a big win to start it and against one of the best teams in the league (the Bruins) and having a big lead too, going late into the third period, and then a team that's a little bit lower in the standings (the Devils), but you still have to come out hard and play, no games are easy. It was pretty competitive out there but it's nice to find a way to win." 

The two-time Stanley Cup champ saved 29 of 30 shots through overtime, including a Miles Wood breakaway with 11 seconds remaining in the second period and the game tied 1-1. He also stopped three of five New Jersey Devils shooters including Taylor Hall and 2019 No. 1 overall pick Jack Hughes in the shootout. 

Crawford became the 59th goalie in NHL history to record 250 wins. The 34-year-old is one of 13 active NHL goalies and just the third Hawks netminder to reach the milestone (Glen Hall: 276, Tony Esposito: 418).

Crawford is 250-149-52 in 464 games with the Blackhawks and has 26 shutouts.