Near the end of one of the best rookie seasons in recent Chicago Blackhawks history, Alex DeBrincat is starting to earn recognition for his debut performance.
On Monday, DeBrincat recevied the “Player of the Year” award at the 2018 Keith Magnuson Blackhawk Alumni Scholarship Luncheon. He’s the youngest player to win the award, with past winners including Denis Savard, Steve Larmer, Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane, who’s won it three times.
It’s been a breakout season for Chicago’s second-round pick (39th overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Following his hat trick against the St. Louis Blues on Sunday night — his third of the season — DeBrincat is up to 25 goals this season, tied with Patrick Kane for the team lead. It’s the most goals scored by a Blackhawks rookie since Artemi Panarin’s 30 goals in the 2015-16 season, and Panarin was 24 years old at the start of the season — DeBrincat was just 19. DeBrincat now ranks seventh in Blackhawks rookie history, surpassing the goal totals of both Kane (21) and Jonathan Toews (24) from their rookie seasons.
DeBrincat’s trio of hat tricks in a rookie season is a Blackhawks first, and he’s only the second American hockey player to accomplish that feat in the NHL.
And the Farmington Hills, Mich. native joked about his hopes that this performance would be enough to overlook his hockey roots:
I hope this means you guys have officially forgiven me for spending a few years of my childhood cheering for the Detroit Red Wings.
- Alex DeBrincat