St. Louis Blues: Jaden Schwartz’s Hat Trick Propels Him Among League’s Fastest Starts

ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 18: Jaden Schwartz
ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 18: Jaden Schwartz /

Hats invaded the Scottrade Center ice, as a back-hand, a deke and a dump all found the twine from one St. Louis Blues forward.

The shots resulted in a hat trick for Jaden Schwartz in St. Louis’s 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Schwartz produced a goal in each of the team’s three periods, something he had not accomplished with his previous pair of hat tricks.

Schwartz’s most recent three-goal game, however, may carry a little more emotional value than his others.  Both of those came in the 2014-15 season.

The effort helped the Blues regain momentum after a two-game losing skid and surpass the Blackhawks for an early Central division lead through seven games. Schwartz also responded admirably after losing balance and suffering a heads-on collision with the boards near the end of the first period.

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Consistency has been a large part of Schwartz’s repertoire early this season, who has collected at least one goal or assist in all but one contest. While leading the Blues with 11 points through seven games, Schwartz only trails Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos by one tally for the NHL lead.

Schwartz’s start is certainly encouraging, but the sample size may still be a little small to make comparisons with Hart Trophy winners like Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin on the basis of points just yet. Regardless, there is reason to believe a career campaign is in store for the 25 year-old.

As the responsibilities and expectations have grown larger for Schwartz, he is already averaging above 19 minutes of ice time this season. The increased leverage speaks to Schwartz’s improved level of conditioning, allowing him to work on the primary units for the power play and penalty kill.

Although Schwartz has developed a rapport with three-time All Star Vladimir Tarasenko in recent years, he has elevated his offensive skill set even further with newcomer Brayden Schenn.

This could easily become one of the team’s most crafted offensive combinations given Schwartz’s playmaking abilities and Schenn’s sniper niche.

There also appears to be some correlation with Mike Yeo as head coach, as Schwartz created opportunities with at least one shot on goal in more than 90 percent of regular season and playoff games after the mid-season coaching change. Leading the team with nine points and three game-winning goals in last year’s playoff run further demonstrates his playmaking and situational awareness since Yeo took over.

All of these elements point to continued progression, but where could it lead the former first-round pick this season? Perhaps Selke Trophy recognition isn’t out of reach if he finesses more defensive abilities later into the year. An All-Star nod is also viable if Schwartz could avoid the injury bug.

Schwartz may not be averaging above a point per game by the end of the year, but if the early season is any indicator, his health, production and continuity could be more influential to Blues victories and a seventh straight playoff run than arguably any else sporting the note this season.

Next: Blues Trying To Shed Little Brother Image From Chicago

A travel-heavy October continues for Schwartz and the Blues on Thursday, continuing with a road matchup against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday.