We talked a lot about what went wrong during the Chicago Blackhawks 2017-18 season. When we start bringing in this season a call for disembarkation, it’s time to focus on several aspects of the season that have exceeded expectations. And there’s no better place to start than the player who started the season in his teens and finished it as the team’s top scorer.
Although it did not start. DeBrincat had only one goal and four assists in his first 12 games during October, calling for a second round (39th place) in 2016 in the NHL draft to get a downgrade in the AHL rating.
And then he scored on November 1 against the Philadelphia Flyers. And then he scored in the next game against Minnesota Wild. He then scored four goals in three games in mid-November. Then he had a hat-trick against the Anaheim Mighty Ducks just after Thanksgiving. By the beginning of 2018 it was obvious that DeBrincat belonged to the NHL.
His 28 goals were the most in the team, one ahead of Patrick Kane. Adding in 24 programs, he put him in a three-way connection for a second (along with Jonathan Tous and Nick Schmalz) with 52 points. Ownership numbers look good, and DeBrincat – at 53.76 CF%, the fourth – among the attackers (one of them – a former teammate in Richard Panik). He benefited from the fact that one of the senior offensive interest rates in the team was 37.2, with the exception of Kane, Schmalz and Patrick Sharpe. To his credit, however, DeBrincat made these opportunities.
Little DeBrincat demonstrated a strong hockey IQ and a fast, accurate shot for many of his goals. For example, take a look at his ultimate goal in the above game against the blues.
As the hawks get the zone, DeBrincat winds on the grid when the shot hits the traffic and bounces off Artem Anisimov. DeBrincat sees the game before it happens.
The washer (highlighted by the yellow arrow) did not even reach the Anisimov’s stick, but DeBrinkat had already recognized the open passageway. Instead of drifting to the slot, it stops and even returns a step or two, making the potential savings in this image virtually impossible.
When the puck arrives, DeBrincat has plenty of free space to bury the puck on the net, because he created this additional room. If he approached the hash marks, he could give Jake Allen a chance to stop this picture or allow Colton Paraiko to move to the block. These subtle little movements were evident in the DeBrincat game throughout the season, as he challenged two of the biggest problems of his transition to the NHL: he was not afraid to go to the “dirty area” to play and he shot so fast that the defenders there was no time to use any advantage over it.
Why not? In fact, why can not it be even better? DeBrinkat’s goals were in the bunches. Nine of them were in three games with a trick. He had seven goals in seven games in November and eight goals in 11 games in January and February. If his continuation of the evolution at the NHL level can lead to greater consistency, there is no reason why he can not break a plateau with 30 balls and start looking 35 or (with his fingers crossed) 40.
The share of shooting DeBrincat at 15.6% is likely to be a regression in the next season, because this number is simply not sustainable. The best net scorer in this century, Alex Ovechkin, has a career mark of 12.4 percent. But a lower percentage of shooting should not mean less goals, because DeBrincat can certainly improve its number of 181 shots on goal during the 2017-18 season. For comparison, and using a player with a similar offensive skill set as DeBrincat, Patrick Sharp had the following totals for shots at the gate during his prime seasons in Chicago: 266, 268, 282, 313. This is just over 280 years. A season with 280 shots on goal with an 11-percent conversion rate leads to a 31-piece campaign. It looks like a realistic average for DeBrincat, is not it? Of course, there is one way to ensure that DeBrincat receives both more quantity and quality images in the next season.