October 21, 2013
Top Ten Rookie Seasons
Let's take a look at the top 10 rookie seasons in NHL history:
1. Teemu Selanne - The Finnish Flash absolutely obliterated the NHL record for most goals by a player in his rookie season when he scored an unbelievable 76 in 1992-93
2. Mike Bossy - It was Mike Bossy who held the previous record for most goals by a rookie with 53 in 1977-78. It was the first of an amazing 9 consecutive seasons of at least 50 goals for "The Boss."
3. Frank Brimsek - In his first 8 NHL games, Brimsek recorded 6 shutouts and wiped out a league record for consecutive scoreless minutes. "Mr. Zero" had arrived. That first year he sparked the Bruins to the regular season and Stanley Cup Championships, earning the Calder and Vezina trophies and a First Team All Star selection on the way. He finished the regular season with a 33-9-1 record with 10 shutouts and a 1.56 GAA.
4. Alexander Ovechkin - Going head to head with fellow rookie sensation Sidney Crosby kept the spotlight on the future of hockey in the 2005-06 NHL season. "Ovie" would win the Calder Trophy thanks to his 52 goals, many of them in spectacular fashion. Twenty one of those goals came on the power play, and he added 54 assists for 106 points.
6. Dale Hawerchuk - The Winnipeg Jets landed a superstar when they drafted Dale Hawerchuk 1st overall in 1981. Hawerchuk immediately post 103-points (45 goals, 58 assists) in his rookie season, winning the Calder Trophy. The year before Hawerchuk arrived the Jets won an embarrassing 9 games in an entire season! Add Hawerchuk and the team went 33-33-14 and made the Stanley Cup playoffs.
5. Tony Esposito - As a rookie Tony Esposito established a modern-day record with 15 shutouts to go along with a 2.17 goals against average. Tony O won the Calder Trophy, Vezina Trophy and finished second only to Bobby Orr for the Hart Trophy.
7. Mario Lemieux - Super Mario dominated the league from day one with a 100-point (43 goals, 57 assists) rookie campaign for the Pittsburgh Penguins as a 19-year-old center.
8. Peter Stastny - This Slovak sensation was older than most rookies, age 24, thanks to the fact that he had to wait to defect from behind Iron Curtain to play in the NHL. But when he arrived in 1980-81 when he took the NHL by storm. He easily won the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie, setting NHL records for assists (70) and points (109) by a freshman. He was the first rookie to register 100 points in a season.
9. Sidney Crosby - Sid the Kid was the most hyped prospect since Eric Lindros. Against very long odds, Crosby has lived up to all the hype since day one. In his rookie season Crosby became the youngest player in NHL history to score 100 points in a season (18 years, 253 days). He scored 39 goals and 63 assists for 102 points in 80 games in 2005-06.
10. Larry Murphy - Larry Murphy still holds the record for most points scored by a rookie NHL defenseman. In 1980-81 Murphy, then with the Los Angeles Kings, scored 16 goals and 60 assists for 76 points in 80 games.
Note: Wayne Gretzky was not considered for this list, because the NHL considered him and other NHL newcomers with previous WHA experience to be ineligible for the Calder Trophy. In his first NHL season The Great One scored 51 goals and 86 assists for 137 points in 79 games.