The offseason of 2019 will be remembered for its talented class of young restricted free agents and how long it took for many of them to sign new contracts. Players like Kyle Connor, Patrik Laine, Mitch Marner and Mikko Rantanen did not agree to a new deal until well after their team’s training camps began.
The Chicago Blackhawks are getting ahead of themselves and will avoid a similar situation with one of their emerging superstars. While the team is in Prague, Czech Republic practicing ahead of their regular-season opener against the Philadelphia Flyers, general manager Stan Bowman signed Alex DeBrincat to a three-year contract extension worth a total of $19.2 million.
The new deal will kick in after this season, which means DeBrincat will be signed through the end of the 2022-23 season.
DeBrincat Made His Mark Early
DeBrincat has been proving doubters wrong for quite some time. Concerns about his size and work ethic caused him to drop down into the second round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft despite putting up huge numbers in the Ontario Hockey League.
Heading into the 2018-17 season there were many who felt DeBrincat needed some time in the American Hockey League, but he was included on the opening night roster. He went on to play in all 82 games and led the Blackhawks with 28 goals. He became the first-ever rookie in Blackhawks’ team history to record three hat tricks in his first season.
His Sophomore season saw DeBrincat become a star. He didn’t lead the team in goals, but he did set a career-high mark with 41 tallies, becoming the second-youngest player in franchise history to score 40 goals.
DeBrincat might be a little undersized, but he has not let that stop him from being a very productive player. He has the knack for finding the open areas of the ice and his quick and accurate shot has proven to be deadly. He has quickly become a fan favorite in Chicago to today’s news has been very popular among Blackhawks fans.
Blackhawks Benefit from Bridge Deal
“I’d like to not have to worry about it and I would like it to be done earlier than later, obviously,” DeBrincat told the Blackhawks official website last month,” I want to stay in Chicago and be a part of this team for a while.”
There has been plenty of speculation on what DeBrincat’s next contract might look like. Many felt that his services would cost the Blackhawks somewhere between $8 and $9 million per season, so getting locked up at $6.4 million is quite the victory for Bowman and the Blackhawks.
This is also a big win because now the distraction of Debrincat’s next contract will never rear its ugly head during the course of the season. The 21-year-old winger can now just focus scoring goals and trying to get the Blackhawks back to the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2017.
The extension also sets up the Blackhawks well for the future. When this contract expires after 2022-23, there will be plenty of other deals coming off the books so a long-term deal should not become an issue. The current contracts of Corey Crawford, Calvin de Haan, Olli Maatta, Connor Murphy, Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw will all expire before DeBrincat’s extension does.
The next order of business for Bowman is to work out a new contract for DeBrincat’s partner in crime, Dylan Strome. The third overall pick of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft came over to the Blackhawks from the Arizona Coyotes in a mid-season trade. The change of scenery did Strome a lot of good as he scored 17 goals and 51 points in the 58 games after the trade.
DeBrincat has turned all the doubt and criticism into a big payday in Chicago and the Blackhawks are reaping the benefits.
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.