He’s 5-7, he weighs in at 165 pounds and he’s scoring at a Connor McDavid clip with the Erie Otters once again. The only difference is he’s doing it without McDavid and still scored when Dylan Strome was out with an injury as well. He’s one of the 5 best scorers in the 2016 NHL Draft yet some have him pegged as a Top 15 pick because they can’t get past the fact that he’s a smaller player. I think it’s bunk. Talent is talent.
“Last year was a fun year for sure,” said DeBrincat. “I signed as a free agent and feel like I didn’t get too much of a chance until the season started. I just played my game even though I’m a little undersized.”
In high school he averaged 2.22 points per game. 111 points in just 50 games. Skeptics would shrug that off to “hey it’s high school” and the competition in Michigan (sarcasm) isn’t that great.
The he joined the Erie Otters. He turned 16 last December and finished the season with 104 points 68 games. Skeptics said it was his teammates who helped to inflate his numbers.
“Everybody has their own opinion and maybe they just chalked it up as I was too small,” he said honestly. “I think they missed the work ethic that I have on the ice.”
This year he has 22 goals in his first 15 games. What’s the rationalization for this? There isn’t any at this point. He’s the current OHL point leader with 32 points. He’s ahead of Christian Dvorak, Travis Konecny, Mitch Marner, Josh Ho-Sang, Dylan Strome and Matthew Tkachuk to name a few.
He won the OHL Player of the Month for October. He may be able to open up more eyes on the International stage. But should he have to? That’s the big question here. With the success of some smaller players in the NHL, and the numbers are growing, he has the blueprint. Some teams still shy away from players of his size where others don’t worry about it. I still think there’s a higher percentage of teams who will pass on the smaller player with a high pick and instead hope that this player drops so they could possibly get them with a second first round pick or via a trade of some sort.
“You look at the top scorer the playoffs last year (Tyler Johnson). He’s a small guy and just found a way to get to the net and get points.”
Before you worry if he’s strong enough. He’s already answered the pull up question.
“I’ve done them a few times we’ve done them for our training camp,” he chuckled.
He should be a guaranteed first round pick. Will he be? We’ll know in late June.