There hasn’t been much for Blackhawks fans to root for over the past few weeks, but Alex DeBrincat has been a shining beacon of hope amid a disastrous season. The rookie winger recorded his third hat trick of the season in the team’s 5-4 loss to the Blues on Sunday. He’s now tied alongside Patrick Kane with a team-high 25 goals.
There have been a lot of remarkable aspects to DeBrincat’s debut year, but his trio of hat tricks stands out as the most impressive. It’s difficult to score one hat trick in the modern NHL, let alone three. Only seven players in the league have recorded multiple three-goal games this season.
In order to celebrate this incredible feat — because let’s be honest, Blackhawks fans could use something to celebrate at this point in the season — here’s a look at the five most amazing facts regarding DeBrincat’s hat trick of hat tricks.
Tied for NHL lead in hat tricks with two former MVPs
Only three players in the NHL have recorded three hat tricks this season: DeBrincat, Connor McDavid, and Alex Ovechkin. You know, just the reigning Hart Trophy winner and arguably the greatest goal scorer of all-time. There probably won’t be many other times DeBrincat finds himself in the same category as these two, so this is a good place to start.
Second rookie with three hat tricks in 25 years
A year after Jets stud Patrik Laine racked up three hat tricks in his debut season, DeBrincat became just the second NHL rookie with three hat tricks in the past 25 years, according to Hockey-Reference’s Play Index.
While we shouldn’t expect DeBrincat to follow the trajectory of the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 draft, who is now tied for the NHL lead with 43 goals as a sophomore, it’s telling of how good he’s been.
Only three players age 20 or younger have scored three hat tricks in a season in the last 30 years: Laine, DeBrincat, and Eric Lindros.
Tied the Blackhawks record for hat tricks in a season since 1987-88
The data only goes back until 1987-88, but in that time, DeBrincat is one of just three members of the Hawks to record three hat tricks in a season. The other two? Brian Noonan in 1991-92 and Bernie Nicholls in 1994-95. No Patrick Kane, no Jonathan Toews, no Jeremy Roenick, no Tony Amonte, no Artemi Panarin.
However, it’s fair to say that if the data went back far enough, Bobby Hull would be the leader here. He’s first in franchise history with 28 career hat tricks in 15 seasons, which is an average of almost two per year.
He has more hat tricks than Patrick Kane did through eight seasons
For the first seven seasons of Kane’s career, he somehow avoided recording a single hat trick. It took 623 games until his first on Jan. 15, 2016, and by the end of his eighth season, he still had just two to his name. Now the star winger has four hat tricks in the NHL regular season, even though he’s played 813 games. DeBrincat, meanwhile, has three in 73.
He’s posted more hat tricks in the NHL this year than in the OHL last year
This one seems hard to believe considering DeBrincat led the OHL with an astonishing 65 goals in 63 games last season, but it’s true. He recorded just one hat trick with the Erie Otters last season despite scoring more than a goal per game. It’s the most fun of the all the fun facts.
That’s because DeBrincat’s success at the OHL level last season was all about consistency. He recorded 19 multi-goal games even though only one of them was a hat trick. He failed to score in just 18 of 63 games throughout the season. Think about that: He had more multi-goal games than zero-goal games.
But DeBrincat has more hat tricks with the Blackhawks this season than he did while shredding juniors apart a year ago. Pretty good for someone who fell to the second round because he’s small.