Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine posted his third NHL hat trick in Tuesday's game against the Dallas Stars. At 18 years and 302 days of age, Laine became the youngest player in league history to post a trio of hat tricks, per the Elias Sports Bureau (via ESPN Stats & Info).
Laine has 47 points—26 goals and 21 assists—through 51 games this season. The rookie out of Finland was selected second overall in the 2016 NHL entry draft and has paid immediate dividends for Winnipeg.
The Jets ended last season with the worst record (35-39-8) in the Central Division and third-worst mark in the Western Conference. The club has displayed some signs of improvement just a year later, possessing a 26-29-4 record early in the second half of the season.
Winnipeg sits ahead of the Stars and Colorado Avalanche in the Central Division and still stands an outside shot at a playoff berth.
While 2016-17 may not be the year Winnipeg makes its return to the postseason, the club appears to be trending in the right direction. The team's biggest downfall comes on the defensive end of the ice. Through 59 games this season, the Jets have allowed the third-most goals per game (3.15) in the NHL.
Still, the Jets have some young pieces—including 23-year-old goaltender Connor Hellebuyck—that could make them contenders in the future. Laine remains under contract for at least three more seasons before potentially becoming a restricted free agent. With other young guns such as Nikolaj Ehlers and Mark Scheifele under contract for the foreseeable future, the club should have a solid presence on the offensive end for years to come.