Mathew Barzal New York Islanders
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Mathew Barzal’s first-career hat trick propelled him to the top of the Calder Trophy race with 35 points in as many games for the New York Islanders.

Mathew Barzal is having himself one hell of a rookie season.

In 35 games, the 20-year-old is scoring at a point-per-game basis, anchors the Islanders’ second-line unit and now has a hat trick less than halfway into his first season. Barzal has been, in one word, sensational.

To recount his milestone, here are the three goals that led to Barzal’s first hatty.

First, Jordan Eberle dishes over a perfectly placed pass right past the net and to Barzal’s stick, 2-0 Islanders in the game.

The second goal is a product of solid fundamentals. Barzal is able to shake off the defender, and with his head up the entire time, he tries putting it in the slot, only to have the puck ricochet through Steve Mason’s legs.

Now, this third goal is a special display of the chemistry that developed between the trio of Barzal, Eberle and Andrew Ladd.

Ladd is able to start the play behind the net and drop it back to Eberle to pick up as he shakes the defender, who then dishes it to a streaking Barzal, and voila.

Duchene Who?

Barzal’s rapid development in the NHL is already paying dividends for the Islanders, who have more than found their second-line center. The Islanders found John Tavares some depth to take the pressure off, and it’s already helping boost his line’s notorious production.

Four of the Islanders top-six forwards are now among the top 20 scorers in the NHL, with Barzal pushing himself into that category after his hat-trick on Saturday: Tavares, Barzal, Josh Bailey and Anders Lee.

Two huge reason’s that cannot be overlooked for Barzal’s success as well are Eberle and Ladd. The chemistry that has been able to develop between both trios of Lee-Tavares-Bailey and Ladd-Barzal-Eberle is nothing short of astonishing. Consider that in the beginning of the year, these two lines weren’t even a remote thought.

Currently, Barzal is leading all rookies in points and assists with 35 and 23 respectively. He is third in goals with 12 (the leading Brock Boeser has 20) and 16th in +/- with four.

Last season, fans were ready–myself included–to say ‘forget the future, Tavares’ time to win is now.’ and ship Barzal off for Matt Duchene while Joe Sakic’s offer was still on the table.

It goes to show that more often than not, some of the best trades are those that are not made, and I’m sure we’ll all be chuckling at that thought after Barzal takes home the Calder this coming summer.

Grew up a diehard Islanders and Mets fan based out of Northern New Jersey. Concluding my Broadcast Communications degree at William Paterson University. WP Sportsdesk member, Stan Fischler correspondent, music buff and total Star Wars freak. Follow my social media handles to learn more. Matt Di Giacomo is a Staff Writer for the Islanders on Elite Sports NY. He encourages team discussion. Tweet him @mdigiacESNY and check out his reviews on YouTube.