Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat

Jeff Curry/USA Today Sports

Zawaski: Hawks Do Fine Job In Locking Up DeBrincat

A cornerstone, Alex DeBrincat signed a three-year, $19.2-million extension.

Jay Zawaski
October 03, 2019 - 11:50 am
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(670 The Score) With Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat coming off a 41-goal season and 69 nice goals in his first two NHL seasons, his expiring contract could've been a story that hovered over the Blackhawks the entire season.

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Instead, general manager Stan Bowman and the Blackhawks got a deal done on the eve of the season, signing DeBrincat to a three-year, $19.2-million contract extension Thursday that will keep him under contract through the 2022-'23 season. DeBrincat’s cap hit will be $6.4 million annually for the length of the deal, which begins in the 2020-'21 season.

Interestingly enough, DeBrincat’s new deal expires at the same time as the identical eight-year deals that pay winger Patrick Kane and center Jonathan Toews $10.5 million annually. If the 21-year-old DeBrincat continues to improve his game at the pace he has so far, he’s poised to become the new face of the franchise and sign a lucrative long-term deal once his new contract expires.

The $6.4-million cap hit is both fair and team-friendly. This offseason saw a number of high-profile restricted free agents -- such as Patrik Laine, Matthew Tkachuk, Brayden Point and Brock Boeser -- sign bridge deals. Laine signed a two-year deal worth $6.75 million annually, while Tkachuk ($7 million average annual value), Point ($6.75 million) and Boeser ($5.875 million) signed three-year contracts.

The biggest name of the group, Laine has played 237 games over over three seasons in Winnipeg, scoring 184 points for an average of 0.78 points per game. Tkachuk is entering his fourth season with Calgary and has recorded 174 points in 224 games, which is also good for 0.78 points per game. Point is also entering his fourth season with Tampa Bay and is coming off a 92-point season. He has averaged 0.86 points per game in his career. Boeser is coming off his second full season with Vancouver and has tallied 116 points in 140 games, an average of 0.83 points per game.

DeBrincat is a pure goal scorer and one of the few players in the NHL with more goals than assists in each of his first two seasons. He has 69 goals and 59 assists in his 164 career games. That’s good for 0.78 points per game. If he duplicates his 2018-'19 numbers (41 goals, 35 assists for 76 points) in this new season, that would elevate his career average to 0.83 points per game through his first three seasons and represent back-to-back seasons of averaging 0.93 points per game. Had the Hawks waited to get the deal done, it easily could've cost them an extra $2 million or $3 million annually on his new contract.

That’s why DeBrincat's extension was such surprising and welcome news. The Blackhawks locked him in at a team-friendly and player-fair deal and eliminated the drama and tension that could've come with an extended or delayed offseason negotiation. It also allows them to focus their attention on getting a deal done with forward Dylan Strome, who will be a restricted free agent next summer.

This is another fine signing in what’s been a pretty solid offseason for Bowman.

Jay Zawaski is the executive producer of the Bernstein & McKnight Show on 670 middays from 9 a.m. to noon, a columnist for 670 The Score and the co-host of the Madhouse Chicago Hockey Podcast, which is available on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify or your preferred podcast app. He's also the host of Locked on Blackhawks and the I'm Fat Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @JayZawaski670.​​​