Red Wings forward Alex DeBrincat continues to struggle as playoffs near

The Detroit Red Wings need more from Alex DeBrincat heading into the playoffs.
Detroit Red Wings v Arizona Coyotes
Detroit Red Wings v Arizona Coyotes / Zac BonDurant/GettyImages

Detroit Red Wings forward Alex DeBrincat had expressed great joy in coming to Detroit to be a part of the team going into the 2023/24 NHL season. After being acquired by the Ottawa Senators, he signed a contract extension that would take him into his prime.

However, this season has not exactly gone how he wanted as he has struggled with the playoffs looming next week. Does Detroit still have a chance at a wild card with him struggling?

This is DeBrincat's first season in Detroit as he was acquired from the Senators in the off-season for forward Dominik Kubalik, defenseman Donovan Sebrango, a conditional 2024 first-round draft pick, and a 2024 fourth-round pick.

He was immediately signed to a four-year contract extension with an average annual value (AAV) of $7.875.

This gave the Red Wings a legit goal-scorer who could instantly provide offense. At the beginning of this season, DeBrincat and Detroit were on fire, getting contributions from everyone and having the most potent offense in the entire league.

The Detroit Red Wings haven't had the same Alex DeBrincat in the second half

After the new year turned over, Detroit had seemingly struggled as a team and have played .500 in the second half. One of the most notable drop-offs has been DeBrincat, considering what was expected of him and how it's turning out.

He has two goals, both against the Washington Capitals, since February 27, 2024. His last assist was on a Patrick Kane goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning on April 1, 2024. He has one game-winning goal this season and has the lowest amount of shots taken since the 2020-21 season.

DeBrincat has 24 goals and 36 assists for 60 points in 78 games this season. Ordinarily, this would be a good season for most NHL players but this would be the fourth-lowest point total in his seven-year hockey career.

While he has one assist in his last five games, he does have the second-highest penalty minute total of his career with 34 penalty minutes.

The entire team has struggled in the second half of this season. Goaltender Alex Lyon does not look like the same goaltender after an all-star first half when he stopped everything he saw. The losing streak started when Dylan Larkin was out due to injury.

The defense looked average at best through most of the season. This season has been night and day for Detroit, looking like a bunch of all-stars to trying to make the playoffs in the last week of the season.

This team had high expectations after acquiring DeBrincat. Depending on what happens with this team in the next week and the off-season, he may come into training camp with a chip on his shoulder after the season both he and the team have had.

He will once again be counted on for offense next season but will he finally live up to expectations?