Chicago Blackhawks Should Not Trade Star Winger

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Despite former General Manager Stan Bowman’s last-ditch effort to go on a final playoff run with his franchise players, the Chicago Blackhawks fell quite far from their goal this season. Bowman made several desperate attempts to get the ‘Hawks back in the postseason during the 2021 offseason. Unfortunately, the Hawks ended comfortably out of a playoff spot and with a new GM in Kyle Davidson. Now, with a new general manager and a new direction, the question of which players remain heading into the 2022-23 season lingers. Among the most controversial sits star goal scorer Alex DeBrincat.

Blackhawks Should Not Trade Alex DeBrincat

Blackhawks’ Current Situation

The Chicago Blackhawks are bad, and they know it. Davidson, who took over for Bowman as interim GM last October, officially claimed the title in March. During his introductory press conference, Davidson acknowledged the lengthiness of their ongoing rebuild. Still, he hopes the Hawks can put together a competitive team shortly:

NHL free agent frenzy

“We’re going to look at more of a rebuild. There are some things that we really need to fix that are going to take time. Whether it’s three, five [years]. I don’t have that answer right now. That will be determined as we proceed.” 

As a whole, the Blackhawks recently cleaned house throughout their entire organization. From Vice President of Hockey Operations to head Amateur Scouting Director, the Blackhawks have filled their positions with new faces. Looking to restore what they once held, the ins and outs of this franchise have been turned upside down. On the ice, it is clear few players are safe from the chopping block, but Alex DeBrincat has proven invaluable to the success of this team. Thus, the Hawks should think twice before dealing him away.

The Blackhawks were Gifted DeBrincat

Drafted in the second round of the 2016 NHL entry draft, Alex DeBrincat is a name many organizations regret passing on. Although his skill was on full display during his time in the Ontario Hockey League, his height had always worried scouts. In the OHL, DeBrincat played for the Erie Otters and still holds their all-time goal record with 167 goals in 191 games played. The Blackhawks were lucky to grab such a talent with the 39th overall pick. Coincidentally, they acquired this pick after trading Andrew Shaw to Montreal, who was flipped back to the Hawks three years later. 

DeBrincat’s Dependability

Each season, DeBrincat continues to prove those concerned about his size wrong. Coming in at a mere 5’7, he still sits among the best in the league. During the 2021 shortened season, he was on pace for 50 goals, and this season he tied his career-high 41 goals. He also led Chicago with 14 powerplay goals. A lot of this production stems from his strong chemistry with linemates Patrick Kane and Dylan Strome. The future of all three forwards is up in the air, but the decision of one could start a domino effect for the others.

Why Play the Lottery When You’ve Already Won

Rebuilds take time. New GM Kyle Davidson is willing to take as much time as this organization needs. He emphasizes this methodology by saying, “When we get to where we want to go, then it was the result of a plan that was stuck to and not deviated from.” Proponents of trading DeBrincat hope to quicken this rebuild process by acquiring a hefty return for the highly sought-after forward. However, a stockpile of draft picks, regardless of how many, is always a risk. No pick is guaranteed to turn into a regular NHLer. In DeBrincat, Chicago already knows what they have. A star.

Win-Win Situation

Either way, the Hawks should not be dealt the short end of the stick in this situation. Keeping DeBrincat will cement a 40+ goal scorer in their lineup for years to come, but letting him walk could be equally rewarding. DeBrincat’s contract is up at the end of this season, and trading him would free up an immense amount of cap space. On top of this, teams looking to bite will have to pay the price; a popular mock trade being thrown around includes New Jersey’s second overall pick in this year’s draft.

Davidson shocked fans from all fanbases after acquiring Taylor Raddysh, Boris Katchouk, and two first-round draft picks in exchange for Brandon Hagel at the trade deadline. A move of this stature early on in his GM career is a good look for Hawks fans, and in this instance, Davidson holds all the leverage. Only time will tell where the young player ends up. Until then, NHL fans of all backgrounds will be left to concoct their potential trades.