This weekend Vancouver Canucks forward Jannik Hansen made his NHL debut. What makes that notable is a) he is a rare player from Denmark and b) he debuted in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
It is not unheard of to give a rookie his first look in the pressure cooker post-season, but it is certainly not normal practice. The Canucks could have called up someone with more experience, such as Brandon Reid, Tyler Bouck or Marc Chouinard.
Hansen looked good in his debut, gaining more ice time as the game went on, landing 4 shots and showing some good reads in dishing off pucks to trailing defensemen. So it is likely he will get a NHL regular season look as early as next season.
If, for any reason, Hansen never plays in the NHL regular season, he will join a list of 26 players who played in the Stanley Cup playoffs but never in the regular season.
As you might expect, the list is full of players you never heard of, but there are two notable players.
The first is Doug McKay, who made his only NHL game appearance during the 1950 Stanley Cup finals with the victorious Detroit Red Wings. As a result, McKay is immortalized as a Stanley Cup winner, and his name on the Cup.
The other player of note was an aggressive defenseman who liked to fight. After spending his rookie professional season with the AHL Hershey Bears, he appeared with the Boston Bruins in the 1955 playoffs for one game. Though he would enjoy an 18 year professional career, he would never return to the NHL. Later he would coach the Boston Bruins with great success, but he is best known as a television broadcaster. That's right folks, the most famous player in NHL history to have only played in the playoffs and not the regular season is none other than Don Cherry.