By Randy Holndoner (@bhawkschatter)
The Chicago Blackhawks over the last two seasons have traded their first round picks for a run at another Stanley Cup. In 2015, it paid off as their 1st round pick and defenseman, Klas Dahlbeck, were shipped to Arizona for forward, Antoine Vermette. Vermette was a key player in Chicago's third Stanley Cup in seven years. In 2016, that plan did not work out so well, as their first round pick, along with highly touted prospect, Marko Dano, were dealt to Winnipeg for rental, Andrew Ladd. The Blackhawks were ousted in the first round against the St. Louis Blues.
So, for their first pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, which came in the second round, 39th overall, was forward Alex DeBrincat, from the Erie Otters. Some questioned the move because DeBrincat was a meager 5 ft. 7in. tall, and 165 lbs. There are those that questioned the drafting of Patrick Kane back in 2007 when he was measured at 5ft 10in. and 162 lbs. We've seen how that turned out. Is DeBrincat the next Kane? Probably not....but, let's take a look at how Alex has done in his career with the Otters.
Okay, so, he's been doing pretty good. Pretty DAMN good. He's currently averaging 2.06 points per game this year. In 2014-15, he happened to play with an up-and-comer, named Connor McDavid. Some thought his success was due to him. Then, McDavid was drafted 1st overall by the Edmonton Oilers in 2015. DeBrincat did not stop his success. Right now, the Otters have 16 games remaining in their schedule and DeBrincat is within 7 points of his career high. He's on pace to finish the season with 130 points. For what it is worth, Patrick Kane scored 145 points in his season with the London Knights before being drafted by the Blackhawks in 2007.
So what does this mean for DeBrincat. When Erie's season ends, the Blackhawks could bring him up. He would not qualify to play with their AHL affiliate, Rockford Icehogs because he won't be 20 years old until December, 2017. He will definitely get his shot at some point, whether it is later this year, or at some point next year. He signed a 3-year contract with the Blackhawks in November, 2016.
His size may or may not be a factor. The league has become all about speed and DeBrincat has it. The league already has a few stars that measure rather small on the height scale.
Time will once again tell, but the Blackhawks have yet another diamond in the rough waiting for his chance to shine with the big club.
LET'S GO HAWKS!!!
Pictures provided by ottershockey.com and hockeydb.com