Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex DeBrincat has claimed the Ontario Hockey League’s scoring title this week as the Otters concluded their regular season schedule. DeBrincat racked up a whopping 127 points, scoring 65 goals and recording 62 assists for the Otters.
DeBrincat’s red-hot second half ensured that it wasn’t even a close race, leading his Otters teammate Taylor Raddysh by a comfortable 18 points at the conclusion of the OHL season this week.
DeBrincat, 19, also became the Erie Otters all-time scoring leader this season, amassing 332 points for the Otters over the course of three seasons, recording 167 goals and 165 assists over the course of 191 regular season games. DeBrincat also ended the season on a 27-game point streak, and even rattled off a 19-game goal streak after being cut from the United States team this winter.
Over his last 35 games of the season, after returning from his brief time with the U.S. team at this past winters World Juniors, DeBrincat recorded points in 33 of 35 games, making more OHL history by joining former teammate Connor McDavid, and future teammate Patrick Kane on a list of only 11 players to average more than 2.00 points per game since the 2006-2007 season.
Elite company for the teenager out of Farmington Hills, Michigan, who is no stranger to being passed over at this point in his young, but decorated career. DeBrincat was not only cut from the United States team this winter, but he also fell all the way to the 39th pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, even after posting back-to-back 50-goal, 100-point seasons with the Erie Otters during the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 seasons.
With nothing else left to accomplish in the OHL at a personal level, DeBrincat will look to make his way to Chicago for the 2017-2018 NHL season.
A road that despite his prolific scoring numbers, will begin with the odds stacked against him due to his lack of size. Standing in at 5-foot-7, DeBrincat relies on his speed and agility to rattle off his outstanding production, but the NHL is a different type of game.
The Blackhawks will look for DeBrincat to beef up this summer, and show that he can withstand the grind of an NHL season and enviorment, while still scoring like we all know he is capable of. The Blackhawks player development team and front-office has been quoted this winter, paying compliment to DeBrincat’s progress thus far, but would not go as far as guaranteeing the 19-year old a place in the fold come next season.
Not only has DeBrincat showed the potential to be a prolific scoring machine as he moves forward in his career, he has shown everyone that he has the smarts to go along with the skills. When asked what his biggest accomplishment was this past season, DeBrincat highlighted his work on the defensive end of the ice, and his determination to ensure that he is a useful two-way winger at the NHL level.
Knowing Joel Quenneville, DeBrincat’s dedication to being a factor in both phases of the game is a very wise decision. Quenneville is famous for not only making rookies earn every shift that they receive, but making sure his players understand that there’s no room in his lines for one-way players.
Quenneville is at the helm of a roster that features one of the most prolific scorers in the game in Patrick Kane, followed by the likes of Artemi Panarin, Jonathan Toews, Artem Anisimov, and Marian Hossa. Point being, a one-way DeBrincat will not be of use to Coach Q, and will likely spend an extended period of time working on rounding out his craft in Rockford if he enters camp this fall lacking the two dimensional presence that Quenneville holds in such high regards.
For now, DeBrincat’s focus will be on the OHL playoffs with the Erie Otters, but make no mistake, this youngster is going to make waves in the NHL in the not-so-distant future, as the Blackhawks seemingly never-ending pipeline of youthful talent continues to flow.