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Phil Thompson: Chicago Blackhawks' clock hinges on Alex DeBrincat's status -- and trading him could have huge repercussions

Phil Thompson, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Hockey

If DeBrincat lands a first-rounder or two and an elite prospect or two, that would be quite a haul for Davidson and Richardson to mold the roster however they want.

Four or five years from now, the Hawks should have a solid enough nucleus to loosen the purse strings for free agents and catapult the team into contention — with enough prospects still in the pipeline to keep developing — or else something went terribly wrong in the draft or the locker rooms.

At that point, Richardson probably would be the first to welcome the pitchforks if his team isn’t competitive.

But for now, he has to worry about more than just a paucity of playmakers.

At a critical time when he’s trying to build a culture in his image, he could have fewer players of the kind he needs.

 

DeBrincat isn’t just revered for his skill — like Hagel was — he’s beloved for the example he sets.

The 5-foot-7 winger harasses bigger opponents on defense, often poking away pucks into the Hawks possession, and he’s as feisty on the penalty kill as he is on the power play. He’s one of the Hawks’ character guys, the kind who playfully torments a young skater such as MacKenzie Entwistle in practice. Like, every practice.

And based on many of DeBrincat’s postgame interviews, personal achievements can’t dull the sting of a loss.

DeBrincat checks a lot of boxes, and that kind of player wouldn’t be very easy for Davidson and Richardson to replace — no matter how many prospects they get in return.

©2022 Chicago Tribune. Visit chicagotribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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