SAN JOSE, Calif. — Alex DeBrincat was chasing one of the most prolific scoring seasons in Blackhawks history before he got swept up in the team’s recent offensive slump.
He was fourth in the NHL in goals a month ago and was on pace for 46, but had just two in 12 games leading up to the Hawks’ matchup with the Sharks late Thursday. That’s quite a rut after averaging a goal nearly every two games to begin his career, and DeBrincat can’t pinpoint why he’s been off.
“It’s a little bit frustrating, but if you’re getting chances, it’s gotta go in sooner or later,” he said. “I’ve had a few chances to score these past few games and it just hasn’t gone in.
“I’ve whiffed on a few pucks and missed the net a few times, but… I’ve just gotta keep playing and keep shooting. I don’t think I’m gonna change anything, and hopefully they start falling my way soon.”
His drought, along with that of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, is a big reason they’ve gone from one of the most dangerous offenses in the league to one that managed nine goals over the six-game span that essentially sunk their playoff bid.
DeBrincat, Kane and Toews — all on the top line now as coach Jeremy Colliton desperately tries to jolt the offense — combined for 12 goals in the last 15 games. They had 99 in the first 61.
It has still been a landmark season for DeBrincat, who followed a terrific rookie year by asserting himself as one of the league’s elite scorers. He has 38 goals and 71 points, which ranked ninth and 34th, respectively.
As he looks to get going again, he’s trying to stay steady.
“Overthinking it and getting too down on yourself is definitely going to hurt you,” he said. “Whether you’re in a slump or it’s going well, you go about it the same way.”
Dahlstrom signs extension
Hawks defenseman Carl Dahlstrom started each of the last two seasons in the minor leagues before proving himself as a full-time player. Management was convinced enough to sign him to a two-year, $1.7 million extension this week.
“It’s always in the back of your head from kind of right the start of the season, but it’s also something we as players try not to think about too much because it might ruin the play a little bit,” said Dahlstrom, who would have been a free agent this summer.
“I’ve always found a way to contribute to that next level. I think I’m still in the process of doing that here in the NHL, but I think I’ve come a long way so far.”
Dahlstrom, 24, has been in the organization since being drafted in the second round in 2013. He has six assists, 32 blocks and is a plus-8 in 648 minutes this season.
The Hawks will start next season in Europe, and tickets for the two games they’ll play there sold out in less than two days.
They will finish training camp and play their final exhibition game in Germany against Eisbaren Berlin, and that game sold out in 19 minutes after going on sale Wednesday. Their regular-season opener against the Flyers in Prague sold out by Thursday morning.