There isn’t much left to say about Alex DeBrincat that we haven’t already said a few hundred times in this space or the podcast. If you’ve missed it, I will catch you up – he’s really damn good. I never ever ever want to forget that the Blackhawks got him with the pick that they acquired from Montreal in exchange for Andrew Shaw, which is the most Montreal shit of all time. After a good rookie season in 2017-18, he followed it up with an elite 2018-19. Let’s dig in:
82 GP – 41 G – 35 A – 76 P
49.68 CF% – 46.47 xGF% (5v5)
It Comes With A Free Frogurt!
DeBrincat quickly cemented himself as the third best forward on the team this season, proving that he doesn’t need to be just Patrick Kane‘s running mate to produce. That’s not to say that he didn’t spend a good amount of time with Kane or didn’t play well when with Kane, but he also spent enough time playing at a high level away from ol’ Garbage Dick to prove that he’s capable of essentially carrying a line’s offense on his own. It certainly helped that he got paired up his OHL running mate back in Dylan Strome not long into the season, but I would argue that Top Cat did more to elevate Strome’s game than the other way around.
One of the most important non-linemate developments for Top Cat this season was his development as a power play assassin. Obviously the improved power play was a huge credit to Jeremy Colliton, and there are very few players who both helped cause that PP boom and benefited from it as Top Cat. He scored 13 of his goals on the PP, and added 11 assists on that unit as well. That equates to nearly one third of his goals, assists, and points coming when on the ice with the extra man, which will certainly help inflate the numbers, but is also just what offensive dynamos like DeBrincat are supposed to do on the powerplay. For context, Nikita Kucherov had 15 of his 41 goals, 33 of his 87 assists, and 48 of his 128 points on the PP, and all of those numbers are more than a third of the total production. So not that anyone was really doing so, but don’t let the heavy amount of PP production make you think his production numbers are any less impressive.
Top Cat is proving to be far and away Stan Bowman’s best draft pick and may even be a large reason that Stan still has a job. Despite being picked 39th overall in the the 2016 draft, Top Cat has the fourth most total points of any player picked in that draft, and has a better PPG at 0.78 than two of the players above him in Patrik Laine and Matthew Tkachuk, who both sit at 0.76. Granted, that’s pretty minimal difference, but it’s still better and I am a homer so we’re counting it as a win. Thanks.
The Frogurt is Also Cursed
Yet again I find myself in a position where trying to find anything negative to say about Top Cat is a bit of a stretch. However, as I thought more about it I realized that there was one thing that kinda bothered me as I thought more about it, though I usually think of it as entertaining and fun. And that is his desire to throw his body around a bit and play a bit of a tough guy when the opportunity is presented.
It’s not that he is a stupid player when it happens – he only took 15 total PIM this year, which is more than fine. But he sometimes works his way into scrums and did get involved in one fight this year, which is one more than I want to see him have. I know hockey has “The Code” and everybody us out there wanting to stick up for their team, but Top Cat should leave that to his less technically gifted and more ham-brained teammates. It’s not a major issue, and usually in the moment I find it cool, but I quickly switch to dread over the thought of him getting some bullshit injury from off a cheapshot from some dipshit in a scrum. Let’s just avoid the possibility all together, okay?
Anyway, Top Cat is great and I love him. Pay the man.
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