Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Ranking all 67 hat tricks from the 2019-20 season

It’s been a while since I’ve done a way-too-in-depth ranking of some random subject. And since we all miss hockey, I thought it would be fun to remember some of the good times. What about hat tricks? Everybody loves a good hat trick. Let’s rank every hat trick from the 2019-20 season, I thought. That would be fun.

Then I found out there were 67 of them. That’s, um, more than I thought. Damn you, dead puck era, where are you when I need you?

Ah well, it’s not like any of us have anything better to do right now. So here we go. Each of the 67 hat tricks from the 2019-20 season, ranked from worst to best, based on a rigorous scientific methodology of me just deciding I liked some better than others. You’re free to disagree. You’ll be wrong, but you’re free to do so.

No. 67: Blake Coleman (Devils vs. Maple Leafs, Jan. 14)

Every hat trick is at least kind of cool, and it feels a little weird to pick one as the season’s very worst. But Coleman is as good a choice as any because his hat trick was unique in two ways. First, the Devils lost the game in regulation, making Coleman the only player on this entire list whose team didn’t even get so much as a point out of his hat trick game. And it’s also the only entry where another player in the same game also had a hat trick – in this case, Auston Matthews. Factor in that all three of Coleman’s goals came with his team trailing by four goals or more, and yeah, this one really didn’t matter. It apparently impressed the Lightning scouts, though.

No. 66: Evander Kane (Sharks vs. Capitals, Jan. 5)

Like Coleman, Kane got his trick in a loss. Unlike Coleman, he at least saw his team earn a point. But this was the infamous game in which the Sharks collapsed with a minute left, allowing two goals to tie the game before losing two minutes into overtime. When your hat trick comes in your team’s most gut-wrenching loss of a gut-wrenching season, that’s not great.

No. 65: Nicolas Deslauriers (Ducks vs. Senators, March 10)

Deslauriers’ first-period blitz was the last hat trick of the season, coming on the penultimate night. It happened two weeks ago. It feels like two years.

No. 64: Tyson Jost (Avalanche vs. Lightning, Oct. 19)

This early-season hat trick accounted for 37.5 percent of Jost’s offensive output for the entire season; he scored just five other goals in 66 games. But he’ll go down as the youngest player to have a hat trick in 2019-20, and the one to do it with the least ice time (just 10:58).

No. 63: Dustin Brown (Kings vs. Wild, March 7)

And here’s the oldest player on our list, as 35-year-old Brown became the third Kings player to manage the feat in a five-week stretch.

No. 62: Craig Smith (Predators vs. Islanders, Feb. 13)

No. 61: Carter Verhaeghe (Lightning vs. Canucks, Jan. 7)

No. 60: Andrew Mangiapane (Flames vs. Ducks, Feb. 17)

No. 59: Joonas Donskoi (Avalanche vs. Predators, Nov. 7)

No. 58: Derek Grant (Ducks vs. Blues, Nov. 16)

Hat tricks by guys you don’t expect are always at least a little bit sneaky-fun. These five guys are all pretty similar stories – they’re not considered big scorers, they finished with fewer than 20 goals on the year, and these were their first and so far only career hat tricks. Grant takes the top spot in the group because of this.

No. 57: Frank Vatrano (Panthers vs. Blackhawks, January 21)

I kind of assumed Vatrano would fit into that same “plugger scoring his first career hat trick” category as that last group, but no – he also had one as a rookie with the Bruins way back in 2015. You learn something new every day. Not something remotely useful, but something.

No. 56: Mika Zibanejad (Rangers vs. Senators, Oct. 5)

This was the season’s first hat trick, as well as the first of two Zibanejad would have on the year. Spoiler: The second one was better.

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