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If You Didn’t Know, Now You Do: Alex DeBrincat is a Superstar

Chicago Blackhawks

Last night, Alex DeBrincat put the National TV audience on notice: This Chicago Blackhawks forward is a legit NHL superstar. With a goal, an assist, and a fight — the Gordie Howe Hat-Trick — DeBrincat played catalyst to the Blackhawks 4-2 win over the Kraken. He tallied his ninth goal of the season, which leads the Blackhawks, and third assist of the year. All together, DeBrincat has 12 points in 16 games, third on the Blackhawks behind Seth Jones and Patrick Kane.*

*All three players connected on the game’s opening goal last night. And while Jones and Kane have already been named to the Team USA Winter Olympic roster, I would assume, at this point, there’s little question that DeBrincat will be joining them this February for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

But let’s circle back to the opening goal of the game, where DeBrincat’s work to be a all-around better playmaker was on full display:

Usually, given the opportunity to rip a shot from a cross-ice feed from Patrick Kane at the left circle, DeBrincat’s instinct would be to bury it. However, on this occasion, with Seth Jones jumping into the rush, DeBrincat showed up with a slick slap-pass for a wide-open tap-in. It’s a development in his game that continues to make him a dual-threat on the ice (so far, DeBrincat has only three assists on the season, but his on-ice vision has improved year-over-year).

But, yes, DeBrincat’s shot is the bread-winner. And it, too, was very clearly on display last night:

After finishing last season at a 50-goal pace, DeBrincat is again flirting with that mark (to be exact, a pace of 0.56 goals per game puts him on track for 46 goals this season, which would be a career-high).

In addition, his shooting percentage last season was an incredible 20.6 percent, ranking second in the NHL among 181 skaters to play at least 35 games and have at least 100 shots on net. Usually, you worry about a shooting percentage like that falling off in the following year, but so far this season, no problems for DeBrincat. With nine goals on the year, DeBrincat is shooting at a 19.1 percent clip and ranks in a tie for 13th in the league out of 189 skaters to play at least eight games and have at least 30 shots on net.

Having a front-row seat last night to DeBrincat’s performance was Patrick Kane. DeBrincat has played on the wing with Patrick Kane for most of his time in Chicago over the past few seasons. If there is someone who knows a league superstar when he sees one or plays with one, it’s Kane.

The two have made a dynamic duo in Chicago that rivals most in the league and resembles what Kane had with one-time teammate Artemiy Panarin. Outside of McDavid and Draisaitl, the Kane-DeBrincat connection has been one of the most successful in the league in a smaller sample size. But Blackhawks fans already knew that.

His 128 career goals rank him fifth in Blackhawks history for most scored before a players’ 24th birthday. He turns 24-years-old in 30 days, is 16 goals behind tying Jonathan Toews for fourth all-time, and there are 15 games for the Blackhawks to play between now and then. Can he catch Toews? Pssh, why not!

Somehow still overlooked by some around the NHL, the league has been put on notice over the past two seasons, and now the NHL at large is seeing the superstar that DeBrincat has turned into. Last season, DeBrincat took 18 games to reach double-digits in goals scored. He is sitting on nine heading into the 17th game of the season on Saturday against the Edmonton Oilers. He’s also riding a four-game point streak and has a goal in three of those four games heading into the weekend contest against the Oilers.



Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.