By Joey Nelson –

With Tuesday’s loss to Colorado, the Hawks are sitting at 69 points (nice) and officially eliminated from the playoffs for the first time since 2008. That’s 10 years for you non math majors out there. This team has been as disappointing as my grades in high school but I’m gonna try and focus on the bright side of things. Not everyone is total garbage.

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First and foremost, the emergence of Alex DeBrincat has been a beautiful thing to watch all year. The highly talented player was known more for his passing and playmaking skills while spending time with the Erie Otters of the OHL. While in an Otters uniform he didn’t need to fit the role of a scorer. Why? Because he shared a line with a guy by the name of Connor McDavid. Ever heard of him? DeBrincat has been solid all year potting 25 goals dished out 21 assists with a +4 roaring in 74 games. Not bad for the Blackhawks Player of the Year winner.

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Another bright side in what has been a season that has been borderline treasonous is Nick Schmaltz. This year has been pretty nice for Schmaltz. His blazing speed helped him put up 20 goals and 28 assists in 70 games. He did miss some time due to injury and it took him a little while to get his hands and feet back but other than that a good showing for the 22 year old.

The last player I’ll talk about is the hometown boy, Vinnie Hinostroza. Now I know his numbers jump out at anyone with 7 goals and 17 assists. The best part about Vinnie’s game is that he never quits on a play and skates his balls off every shift. Since being called up from Rockford he’s done nothing but give the coaches no choice but to give him ice time. A player I’d compare Vinnie to would be Marcus Krueger. The kind of guy that words hard on the penalty kill and is just a flat out grinder.

See? It’s not all bad. Hopefully these guys stick around because every one of them can contribute on a Cup contending team. If this is somewhat of a quick turnaround I think we’ll get to see it due to the fact that DeBrincat is 20, Schmaltz is 22 and Vinnie is 23. For now, we just have to ride out the remainder of the season which sucks. Just thank our lucky stars that we’re not the Ottawa Senators.

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