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The Best Rookie Seasons In NHL History
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The NHL is a lot like MLB in that rookies do not always make an immediate impact on a team. It can take years for a player to go through the farm system before he even gets the chance to be an NHL rookie. The Rookie of the Year award is handed out every season, but there have been a select few rookies who have made a lasting impact on the history of the NHL.

Teemu Selanne – Winnipeg Jets

Teemu Selanne left Finland and joined the NHL for the 1992-93 season. It is hard to believe that he answered the bell for the 2013 season, but he did. In his rookie year, Selanne notched an amazing 132 points. But what was even more incredible was the rookie single season scoring record he set that year with 76 goals.

Alexander Ovechkin – Washington Capitals

Alexander Ovechkin’s rookie season in 2005-06 was so impressive that it helped him to beat out Sidney Crosby for the Rookie of the Year honors. In his rookie season, Ovechkin scored 52 goals and racked up over 100 total points.

Terry Sawchuk – Detroit Red Wings

The career of the goalie many consider to be the best of all time started in 1950-51 with the Rookie of the Year honors. In that season, Sawchuk had a record of 44-13-13 and finished the season with a 1.99 goals against average. It remains as one of the most impressive rookie seasons by a goaltender in NHL history.

Raymond Bourque – Boston Bruins

Wayne Gretzky would eventually be anointed as “the Great One” for his iconic NHL career, which started in the 1979-80 season. But it was not Gretzky who won the Calder Trophy for Rookie of the Year in that season. Boston Bruins defenseman Raymond Bourque captured that honor with 65 total points and a plus 50 for the season. It should be noted that Gretzky’s time in the WHA disqualified him from being considered a Calder candidate. But that does not take away from Bourque’s amazing season.

Ken Dryden – Montreal Canadiens

Ken Dryden was a Stanley Cup champion before he could even be considered a rookie. Dryden was called up late in the 1970-71 season and given the starting goalie job where he led the Canadiens to the Stanley Cup. In 1971-72, Dryden continued to work his magic as he finished his official rookie season with a 39-8-15 record and a Calder Trophy.

Gilbert Perreault – Buffalo Sabres

The Buffalo Sabres won the right to draft Gilbert Perreault by winning the spin of a carnival wheel over the Vancouver Canucks. Perreault came to Buffalo with the hopes and dreams of a brand new franchise on his shoulders. He responded in 1970-71 with a 38 goal season and the Calder Trophy. Perreault would spend his entire career in Buffalo and score over 500 goals before retiring.


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