In the comments for the previous post, PhantomJoe1920 pointed me to a site I had overlooked in my search for a list of the top rookie scorers of all time: www.bov.ch. It’s a personal page for a Swiss guy name Phillipe who is interested in hockey, chess, whisky, and beer. Amazingly, it also apparently one of the better hockey resource sites for NHL rookie scoring. The mind boggles.
I grabbed the thirty names off his list and have presented them along with Gretzky and projected numbers for Ovechkin and Crosby, sorted by points adjusted for scoring context and season length. Not surprisingly, this list is dominated by guys who played in the 1980′s-if I had the lists of rookie leading scorers each year, I could probably put together a better list.
A couple of interesting things jump out at you. The placement of Crosby and Ovechkin is an obvious huge credit to them. Their ages speak quite well for them as well-lots of guys on this list aged 21+. The top 13 on this list is simply incredible-of the 9 who are retired, 7 of them are Hall of Famers. Rick Martin quite possibly would have been (Lowetide of Hockey’s Future, an expert on Hockey’s Past, informs me that Martin destroyed his knee in 1980; something that’s very clear from his hockeydb profile as his career just comes to a complete halt that year) and Joey Juneau who was 24 when he had his rookie season. Of the four who have yet to retire, Selanne and Nieuwendyk are sure thing Hall of Famers in my eyes. AO and Crosby are in a pretty elite class of players.
One other point-note where Eric Lindros sits. He’s 30th on my list, which is very respectable, but what that doesn’t tell you is that almost every one of these guys played nearly every game their team took part in. Lindros, in what is retrospectively an obvious piece of foreshadowing (referring to something as retrospective foreshadowing may be the ultimate in bad writing), missed 23 games. Had he played in those games, he was on pace for 80ish points. If someone ever made a list of hockey players whose promise was negated by injury, he’d probably sit second only to Bobby Orr. If I ever have a kid who looks like a talented hockey player, there’s no way in hell I’m letting him suit up for the Oshawa Generals.