Looking to make the leap: Alex DeBrincat
This post is part of Blackhawks Day on PHT…
There’s an opening on Patrick Kane’s left wing that Alex DeBrincat would love to fill.
In reality, though, it’s probably going to take some time before the talented teenager makes his mark in the NHL.
DeBrincat, who doesn’t turn 20 until December, is coming off another spectacular scoring season in the OHL, where he put up 127 points in 63 games for the Erie Otters.
Naturally, those eye-popping statistics led some to wonder if he might be able to replace Artemi Panarin on Kane’s line.
But that’s a tall order for an undersized kid, listed at just 5-foot-7 and 165 pounds, who hasn’t even played a single professional game. More likely, the first opportunity to replace Panarin will go to Patrick Sharp or Nick Schmaltz.
And that’s fine with DeBrincat, who’s well-aware he could start the season in the AHL.
“I’ll go into camp trying to make the Hawks and, if not, Rockford is a great place for me to develop too,” he said, per the Chicago Tribune.
Regardless of where DeBrincat begins his pro career, his development will be fun and fascinating to watch. And you never know, maybe he will find chemistry with Kane right off the hop. After all, he’s already had success with some pretty dynamic players in Erie, where Connor McDavid and Dylan Strome played their junior hockey.
“Connor would do everything at top speed and it helped me to play with someone that fast. Dylan, while not as fast, was just as smart and helped me find areas that were open,’' DeBrincat said. “Those guys helped me evolve and mature. I picked up anything I could.”
Again, though, ‘Hawks fans would be wise to temper their expectations for next season. Second-round draft picks don’t typically make the NHL as teenagers, and on top of that, Chicago may not have room on its roster anyways.
“I’m confident in my abilities,” DeBrincat said, per CSN Chicago. “But they have a plan for me and I’ll do whatever they want me to do. I’ll stick with their plan.”