The Chicago Blackhawks have signed young forward and recent draft pick Alex DeBrincat to an entry-level deal
Monday morning, the Chicago Blackhawks came to terms on a three-year, entry-level contract with 2016 second-round draft pick Alex DeBrincat. The deal is reportedly the maximum for an entry-level contract: three years, $925,000 per year.
DeBrincat is coming off of back-to-back 50-goal, 100-point seasons with the OHL’s Erie Otters and currently has 35 points in his first 14 games this season, on pace for 167 points.
The Blackhawks have stayed true to their word from this summer that they, as a franchise, are going to focus more on the internal development and promotion of their young talent and prospects. This signings this offseason and the need for youth in the roster have provided big opportunities for Chicago’s recent draft picks.
DeBrincat lighting up the OHL
As mentioned before, DeBrincat has been one of the most electrifying players in the OHL in the last few seasons. Overshadowed by his Erie Otters teammates Connor McDavid and Dylan Strome the last two years, DeBrincat has finally had his chance to emerge as a true primetime player in Canadian Junior Hockey.
With 35 points in 14 games this season with the Otters, DeBrincat is scoring at a 2.5-points-per-game pace, second in the OHL and trailing teammate Taylor Raddysh (2.6), a 2016 second-round pick by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
It goes without saying that the Farmington Hills, Mich., product has been on the OHL radar the last two years, but his start to the 2016-17 season has put him squarely in the spotlight.
The Chicago Blackhawks have a certain knack for finding undersized scoring threats from the OHL, don’t they?
Patrick Kane was such when the Blackhawks selected him first overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft out of the OHL from the London Knights organization. At 5-foot-10 and weighing 160 pounds, Kane was a small player in the eyes of NHL standards in 2007.
DeBrincat is running into the same issues at 5-foot-7 and 170 pounds. Many NHL scouts passed on DeBrincat because of his lack of size, citing his small stature was the difference between DeBrincat being a top-10 selection and ultimately being selected 39th overall by the Blackhawks.
The difference between Kane being undersized and DeBrincat being undersized at the time of their drafts is that DeBrincat plays physically for his frame.
Scouting reports on him show he is not afraid of puck battles and even enjoys going to the front of the net and looking for scoring chances in an area that is largely reserved for the “big boys.” His scoring touch, the way he sees the ice and his ability to not be intimidated physically makes him an interesting piece for the Blackhawks.
DeBrincat’s future may not be exactly on the caliber of Kane’s, but who is to say he won’t be a major player or even the cornerstone to the next wave of core players the Blackhawks bring into the organization?
A future lineup consisting of potential core players like DeBrincat, Motte, Schmaltz, Fortin and Vince Hinostorza means the Blackhawks’ offense could be full of flash very soon. Throw in a successful development of a power forward like Knott and Chicago’s offense in the near future looks pretty exciting.