On December 23rd New York Islanders rookie Mathew Barzal scored a hat-trick against the Winnipeg Jets. And it was the second fastest, in Islanders history.
Since 1972 only eleven New York Islanders rookies have scored hat-tricks. On December 23rd, 2017, Mathew Barzal became the eleventh member of the club with three against the Winnipeg Jets.
Barzal joins an illustrious list of New York Islanders rookies like Bryan Trottier, Mike Bossy, and Pat LaFontaine to score a hat-trick in their first season. He’s also the last to achieve the feat since Michael Grabner did it 2011.
Does it mean anything? Niklas Andersson got a rookie hat-trick in 1996 and he never amounted to much at the NHL level. Mats Hallin also got a rookie hat-trick in 1983, but he also never really did much.
Ain’t No Fluke
Unlike those last few rookies – Mats Hallin, Niklas Andersson, and even Michael Grabner – Mathew Barzal is something special. Sure, at least Grabner became a serviceable NHL player. But Barzal is going to be much more than that.
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Just looking at how productive he’s been so far this season. Through 36 games he has 35 points. Putting him on pace for 80 points by the end of the season.
That would place him third all-time for rookie scoring in New York Islanders history. Only the aforementioned Bryan Trottier and Mike Bossy would have more with 95 and 91 points respectively.
Then you consider the way in which he’s collecting his points. He’s creating so much ice for players like Jordan Eberle and Andrew Ladd around him. We were used to seeing Barzal dance around the perimeter of the offensive zone looking to open up lanes. But the other night against the Jets we say Barzal attack the open space to carve out opportunities for himself.
He isn’t waiting for those around him to find space, he’ll take it all on his own. Just watch how he scores the second goal of his hat trick against the Jets. Again, creates space and attacks it.
Statistically, Barzal is still heavy in the assists column. But adding this goal scoring element changes the way how opposing teams cover him.
This isn’t flash in the pan production like Grabner or Andersson or even Hallin. It’s too early to say he’s on the level of Trottier or Bossy. That’s hallowed ground. But the potential is certainly there.
We knew Barzal was going to be something special. But we didn’t think he would be this special. He’s absolutely dominant every-time he’s on the ice. Putting up a point per game. Like the tweet said. Barzal is on another level.