The Chicago Blackhawks Alex DeBrincat is being discussed as a candidate for the Calder Trophy. He deserves it. After a slow beginning to his season, DeBrincat has caught fire of late. He set the Blackhawks rookie record for goals in a month with 10 in November. His success has brought him into the spotlight and into the Calder Trophy discussion.
Alex DeBrincat is an Early Calder Trophy Candidate
As the Chicago Blackhawks season neared, the future for DeBrincat was not set in stone. The Blackhawks had discussed DeBrincat getting some experience playing for the Rockford Ice Hogs of the AHL before joining the Blackhawks. During the Prospects Tournament, training camp, and preseason games, it became clear he had other ideas. He played extremely well leading up to the last cuts made before the 2017 roster was set, and earned his spot.
2017 Season Begins
After making the opening night roster, the much-touted rookie was heading straight to the NHL from the OHL. Despite his small size and young age, expectations were high. His rookie season began slowly as he got used to the high level of play in the NHL. His scoring touch was a work in progress in October. He only scored one goal and had four assists as he was bounced around on different lines. Then November arrived, and the fans now see the Chicago Blackhawks Alex DeBrincat earning Calder Trophy discussion.
A November to Remember
In November, Alex DeBrincat made history for the Chicago Blackhawks. He became the first rookie to score 10 goals in a month. The Hawks rookie record was 9 goals in a month. It was held by Murray Balfour (January 1960), Darryl Sutter (February 1981), and Steve Larmer (December 1982). Debrincat scored 14 points in 13 games in last month, making it a November to remember.
Dave Melton of Second City Hockey provides goes in-depth on DeBrincat’s hot November and his level of play means he is worthy of Calder Trophy discussion. Melton also points out that DeBrincat has earned his shot at moving to the 1st or 2nd line based on his play. He is scoring goals at key moments.
“Perhaps the best part about DeBrincat’s hot streak is that it came at a time when the Hawks desperately needed someone to step up. With top players like Brandon Saad and Jonathan Toews mired in long slumps, DeBrincat’s torrid pace — along with Artem Anisimov’s glutton of goals — kept Chicago from falling too far in the standings. Those two had 19 of the 41 goals that Chicago scored last month.
With his increased scoring, DeBrincat is being recognized for his offensive potential and injecting himself into the Calder Trophy discussion. He now has 19 points, and trails rookies Brock Boeser (25), Mathew Barzal (24), and Clayton Keller (21).
Alex DeBrincat has also been bringing a surprise physical presence to his play. Compared to 6’1‘ Boeser (8), 6’0” Barzal (7), and 5’10” Keller (3), DeBrincat has dealt out 15 hits this season. He has shown a knack for getting into the tough areas of the ice. The rookie also enjoys throwing some checks and winning the board battles.
DeBrincat has 13 turnovers on the year compared to Boeser (9), Barzal (23), and Keller (21). He has demonstrated a great vision on the ice and a sweet pair of hands with many of his assists. He has also protected the puck as good or better than the other top rookies.
As the December games begin with games against the Dallas Stars and L.A. Kings, DeBrincat will be a rookie in the spotlight going forward. If he continues the same scoring pace and well-rounded play, he will definitely be in the running for the Calder Trophy.