When people think about the Blackhawks surprisingly being in the running for a playoff spot, they tend to rain praise on a long-running star (Patrick Kane) and an out-of-the-blue gem (Kevin Lankinen). But in a team sport where you simply need several people to step up if you want to succeed, the Blackhawks also needed a bounce-back season from Alex DeBrincat.

And Alex DeBrincat did just that.

With 16 goals and 33 points in 30 games heading into the weekend, DeBrincat is on the best pace of his career. (The 2018-19 season stands out as DeBrincat’s best so far, with career-highs in goals [41] and points [76].)

Ups and downs for DeBrincat before what’s been a career-best season

Essentially, it’s been fascinating to watch Alex DeBrincat’s career ever since the Blackhawks drafted him after he slipped to the second round (39th overall in 2016). People wondered very early on if DeBrincat was a big steal, someone who was being excessively discounted because of size concerns.