Here’s every NHL team’s player to watch break out this year

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 10: Nolan Patrick
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 10: Nolan Patrick /
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Chicago Blackhawks: Alex DeBrincat

The thing is, Alex DeBrincat had a statistically spectacular but relatively unrecognized (10th in Calder voting? Seriously?) rookie season last year, recording 52 points on 28 goals and 24 assists, largely because the Blackhawks flamed out after years of domination and weren’t a factor.

The breakout could come alongside superstar sniper Patrick Kane, with whom DeBrincat, 20, had a degree of chemistry while the two Americans played together at the World Championships. Oh, and logging the second-most points in the NHL as a rookie – including three, yes, three hat tricks, which was tied in the NHL with some stiffs named McDavid and Ovechkin – came while playing largely on the third line and at even strength (DeBrincat was second among rooks in even-strength goals, with 22).

So, he’s got the goods to get it going, as in more could translate to more for the Michigan native: 30 goals is not out of the question for this talented winger, especially if he’s playing on the team’s top line, takes advantage of the resultant more ice time and more power-play time. And doesn’t make coach Joel Quenneville mad.