Awards: Erie’s DeBrincat named CHL player of year
WINDSOR, ONT.— Alex DeBrincat has been told more than once he is too small to succeed.
It’s a major reason why the 19-yearold waited so long to hear his named called at the 2016 NHL draft, despite scoring 51 goals and 104 points in the year leading up to it.
“I think a lot of teams were worried if I could still do it at the next level,” DeBrincat said about dropping to the second round. “In my mind I can, and hopefully I will for a long time.”
With some extra motivation, DeBrincat exceeded his draft-year numbers by a wide margin in 2016-17, with 65 goals and 127 points in 63 games with the OHL’s Erie Otters. He was named the Canadian Hockey League player of the year Saturday.
“Feels good, (but) coming into the season we had a bigger goal in mind,” DeBrincat said, before the Memorial Cup final. “Wasn’t really about me putting points or goals, more of a team thing.”
Chicago selected DeBrincat in 2016 with their first pick, 39th overall. A total of 26 teams overlooked him. Twelve passed over him twice.
The Farmington Hills, Mich., native is listed at five-foot-seven and 170 pounds, which falls well below the average size hockey player. But he became just the second player in OHL history, and the first in 40 years, to record three straight 50-goal seasons.
“I think a lot of people are worried about my size,” he said, “but Chicago believes in me.” Among the other awards: Brandon’s Nolan Patrick, listed No. 1 in NHL Central Scouting’s rankings for June’s draft, was named the top CHL prospect.
Halifax’s Nico Hischier, No. 2 on Central Scouting’s list, won rookie of the year.
Saint John’s Thomas Chabot, an Ottawa Senators prospect, was named top defenceman.
Owen Sound’s Michael McNiven, a Canadiens prospect, was named goaltender of the year.