Prospect of Interest: The 411 on Alex DeBrincat

Otters forward Alex DeBrincat (Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

They say good things come in small packages. That definitely holds true when it comes to this player.

Alex DeBrincat played on the same line as Connor McDavid in Erie a season ago, before McDavid was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers and moved on to the NHL. Many questioned whether DeBrincat could be as effective without McDavid, but the speedy winger kept on being a point-producing machine and scored 51 goals for the second season in a row.

Here’s a detailed review of what this 2016 NHL Draft prospect brings to the table.

Age on June 24: 18
Current Team: Erie Otters
Position: Right Wing
Shoots: Right
Height: 5-foot-7
Weight: 161 pounds
From: Farmington Hills, MI.
Twitter: @Brinksy97
NHL Central Scouting Rank (North America): 21st

Jeff Marek’s Take: Has consistently silenced his critics in the best way possible – consistent scoring.

Using his size to his advantage…
DeBrincat may only be 5-foot-7, but he’s a master at getting in and out of tight spaces, shifting his way through with deft hand skills and supreme skating ability.

Don’t let that 161-pound frame fool you, either. refers to him as a player who “can be very nasty to play against and shies away from no one.”

Combine his sleekness and edginess with his pure scoring ability and DeBrincat represents one of the more underrated prospects available in this year’s draft.

Making McDavid-less statements…
DeBrincat was the only 2016 NHL prospect coming out of major junior to score more than 50 goals (51) in the 2014-15 season. A lot of credit for that naturally went to McDavid.

But DeBrincat started the 2015-16 campaign on fire, scoring 13 goals in his first eight games to lead the OHL.

He finished the season by matching the 51 goals he scored the season before, making him the second-highest goal scorer in the OHL behind only Christian Dvorak, who was a second-round pick of Arizona’s last summer. DeBrincat added 50 assists and was seventh in overall scoring with 101 points in 60 games.

McDavid who?

Remarkably consistent…
Year in and year out, DeBrincat has averaged better than a point per game.

Since his pre-major junior days with the Victory Honda Under-16 team and Lake Forest Academy in Chicago, DeBrincat has been a prolific scorer. In his last season with Lake Forest, DeBrincat posted 54 goals and 111 points in 50 games.

He went from there into the Erie lineup next to McDavid and earned OHL rookie of the year honours with 104 points in 68 games.

Rough performance at the World Junior Hockey Championship…
DeBrincat was a part of Team USA’s entry at this year’s WJC, but he had a rough go there – especially in his first two games.

In the USA’s first game, DeBrincat was ejected for this nasty spear on Travis Konecny after the Canadian forward shoved DeBrincat shortly after a whistle.

He returned for the next game against Sweden, but was injured at the end of the first period when Ollas Mattsson hit him with a hard check behind the net. DeBrincat left the game and missed the next two games after as well.

He returned for the Americans’ easy 7-0 win over the Czechs in the quarterfinal, but in a 2-1 semifinal loss to the Russians, DeBrincat was held without a point or a shot.

Not drafted into the OHL
DeBrincat had a verbal agreement to go to the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, but instead signed as a free agent with Erie in 2014.

That’s right. The kid who’s done nothing but rip up the OHL for two years was bypassed in the league’s draft.

Sleeper pick…
DeBrincat sounds like a can’t miss prospect with all sort of offensive potential, so why was he ranked 21st among North American prospects by Central Scouting? His size (or lack thereof) must be a factor.

“I don’t know exactly,” DeBrincat told Sportsnet’s Gare Joyce when asked why he wasn’t noticed by scouts earlier. “We had scouts come out to games [at Lake Forest Academy]. I’m sure they saw me but were probably looking harder at other players. Maybe my size made it easier to look at other guys.”

DeBrincat is one of the most proficient scorers available in the draft, and players such as Arizona’s Max Domi and Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau have proven there’s a place in the NHL for the undersized.

The Otters’ star scorer could prove to be the steal of the draft if he goes where he’s projected – late in the first round, or even early in the second.

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