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NHL - US Sports: Sillinger a special talent for Blue Jackets

Coach Brad Larsen branded 18-year-old forward Cole Sillinger a "special talent" after he scored his first NHL hat-trick in a 6-4 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday.

The Blue Jackets, 300/1 to win the Stanley Cup in 2021/22, selected the 6'2" centre with the 12th overall pick in the 2021 NHL draft.

Sillinger earning high praise

In his debut NHL season, the American has scored 21 points (11 goals, 10 assists) in 57 games.

The hat-trick for Sillinger came in the space of just 14.33 minutes, becoming just the seventh 18-year-old to score a hat-trick in the NHL since 1991/92. 

Sillinger became the fifth rookie in Blue Jackets history to score three in a game and the second youngest in history to do so, with only Nikita Filatov's 2009 hat-trick coming from a younger player.

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Following injury to Booner Jenner, Sillinger was moved the Blue Jackets' top-line against the Vegas Golden Knights by coach Larsen, who says what impresses him most about the American is his consistent work ethic and exceptional compete level.

Larsen expects even more to come from Sillinger

44-year-old Larsen was promoted to head coach from the position of assistant in the off-season and signed a contract through to the end of the 2023/24 season.

The Blue Jackets (30-27-3) currently sit fifth in the Metropolitan Division and are 13 points from the closest Wild Card spot to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs from the Eastern Division.

Larsen said to the media about Sillinger: "I think he can be a special player. A real special player. He's 18 years old. There's a long way to go, but this is a special night for him and his family, and all the hard work he's put in."

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