DeBrincat one to watch when ‘Hawks hold prospects camp

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The Chicago Blackhawks will hold their prospects camp next week — and when they do, expect all eyes to be on Alex DeBrincat, the 19-year-old forward who’s piled up points as an OHL star but whose NHL ceiling is a matter of debate.

DeBrincat, listed at just 5-foot-7 and 165 pounds, is coming off another stellar season with the Erie Otters. In 63 games, he scored a whopping 65 goals with 62 assists. For comparison, the second-most goals in the league was 48, by Sudbury’s Dmitry Sokolov.

With those offensive totals, one wonders if DeBrincat might be able to replace Artemi Panarin on Patrick Kane‘s line. After all, Panarin’s not a big guy, either, and he had great chemistry with Kane and Artem Anisimov.

But until DeBrincat plays an NHL game, there will be questions about his size and strength. In December, he was surprisingly cut by the U.S. World Juniors squad that went on to beat Canada for gold.

“It’s going to be a big summer for him,” Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman told the Chicago Tribune in February. “If he can get his strength up to NHL-caliber, no question he has the ability. He has that innate sense of how to get into open areas and score goals. That’s probably an overlooked talent. You can’t really teach that. It’s an instinct and he has it.”

Click here for the entire ‘Hawks prospects roster. It also includes DeBrincat’s Erie teammate, defenseman Darren Raddysh, who signed with Rockford last month.