February 06, 2006

10 Best NHL Rookie Seasons:

posted by garfield to hockey at 02:12 PM - 12 comments

Ah, I thought Mario's rookie was pretty good - He was all of 18 too (some of these rookies are up to three years older). However, I think the sentiment is clear - Corsby, Ovechkin, Lundqvist and Svatos are all having rookie seasons up there with the best all-time. Selanne's rookie year is fucking phenomenal. Too bad he could never do it again (though, in fairness, it's not like anyone else was putting up numbers like that anywhere in the years that came thereafter). My personal favorite (aside from Greztky tying Dionne for the Art Ross in his "rookie" year) has always been Barrasso. Here's an 18-year old kid out of high school in the USA winning the Calder AND Vezina (what?!? An American Goalie?- Never!). That's legendary stuff. Movie of the Week stuff.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:42 PM on February 06, 2006

LaCroix, sweety darling, LaCroix! Damn him and his ability to keep finding super studs. That Marek Svatos is pretty damn good.

posted by NoMich at 03:00 PM on February 06, 2006

If Ovechkin came in to the league in 92, he probably would be closer to Selanne's numbers. Especially if he were playing with Steen and Housley and not, uh, Zubrus and... Witt? The thing with looking at rookie numbers from 1991-1994, when there was the last great influx of talent to the NHL, is that a lot of that *new* talent was actually older and experienced and came about thanks to the opening of the European market to the NHL following the USSR's collapse. Granted, Selanne is a Finn, but that gave more attention to the whole of European hockey at the time.

posted by mkn at 03:16 PM on February 06, 2006

I'm surprised Dryden isn't higher, though I guess the postseason doesn't matter in the Calder race. He won the Cup despite playing a grand total of six NHL games prior to that postseason! Yeah, he was on a great team, but that is remarkable. His whole career had probably the highest achievement-to-years-played ratio of any athlete you can name. Six Cups in eight seasons, then he quit. Careers don't get much better than that.

posted by Succa at 03:30 PM on February 06, 2006

Nice to see good ol' Joe Nieuwendyk on the list. I didn't realize he had such a great rookie year. He seems to have a positive impact on any team he plays for.

posted by njsk8r20 at 03:51 PM on February 06, 2006

Weedy, your trip down memory lane reminds me of one of my favorite hockey stories. My sister and I went to both of Cam Neely's comeback games (totally by accident too, my dad bought the tickets months in advance). The second one was in the middle of Pittsburgh's run. They were dominating like defending champs should, Neely had been tossed from the game for trying to fight Ulf, Barasso and the Pens were on their way to a 5-2 or 5-3 laugher that wasn't as close as the score suggested. And the whole time this leather-lunged rafter rat was screaming, "Hey Barass-oohh! Remembah Mat-in-YOHN!" Like in the middle of complete athletic success he was going to be turned to jelly by the reminder of high school failure. It didn't work, but it should have.

posted by yerfatma at 04:20 PM on February 06, 2006

Selanne's season was amazing, and it is a shame he hasn't been able to do it again. However, I just hope that we won't be saying the same about Ovechkin (in the context that he wasn't able to stay amazing).

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 04:48 PM on February 06, 2006

No mention of greatest rookie seasons is complete without mentioning Mister Zero, Frank Brimsek. Six shutouts in his first eight games in the league, and 10 in 43 starts his rookie year. (And you thought Barrasso was the only American goalie to start strong.) Just throwing another name out there.

posted by chicobangs at 05:19 PM on February 06, 2006

Great call chico, the Bruins went from Tiny Thomas directly to Brimsek. Old Time Hockey.

posted by yerfatma at 06:40 PM on February 06, 2006

Rocket Richard. 32 goals in 46 games in his first season. My grandfather raised me with stories of him (with a voice filled with awe) and cemented my love of hockey in the process. Though he never quite forgave me for being a Red Wings fan, instead of his beloved Canadiens.

posted by commander cody at 01:29 AM on February 07, 2006

alex ovechkin is doin great. he is the next jagr or lemieux.

posted by siouxhocky at 02:55 PM on February 07, 2006

He is so the first Ovechkin. Electric. Scoring and hitting. With some Jagresque and Lemieuxian qualities about him.

posted by gspm at 04:49 PM on February 07, 2006

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