The hot topic of the current NHL-season has been rookies, Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine.
Every move on the ice by the American number one pick and the Finnish number two pick is being followed with great interest – as well as the goals and points they accumulate.
Matthews couldn’t have started off better as the sapling Maple Leaf netted an incredible four goals in his NHL-debut away to Ottawa. Laine didn’t do too badly either in his first clash at home against Carolina – 1+1 in a dream-come-true match will have given the Winnipeg Jets rookie more self-confidence.
Laine leads the rookie point scoring chart with 25 points at the time of writing with Matthews and his teammate Mitchell Marner level at 20. But how do these youngsters compare to the top scorers of previous seasons?
The ultimate yardstick is the season 1992-1993, when Teemu Selanne recorded the so far unbeaten record 76+56=132. The average points per game for the Finn was a respectable 1.57. Teemu Selanne break’s Mike Bossy’s previous rookie goal record
Laine kept up a great pace in goal scoring at the beginning of the season, and couldn’t escape comparison with his fellow countryman.
Even though he hasn’t been able to keep up with that in terms of points, he and the Maple Leafs are still producing. At the moment Laine stands at 0.78 and the Maple Leafs at 0.74 points per game.
The comparison to Selanne’s rookie record is unfair in terms of the league having developed into a much faster, more skilful and tougher place to produce points, and a look at the history backs up that notion.
After 1992-93, only one rookie has been able to break the 100-point mark: Alexander Ovechkin in 2005-06 with 52 goals and 54 assists. The number then drops to 82 – the Swede Mikael Renberg’s 38+44 for the Philadelphia Flyers the season after Selanne’s rookie year – and the Russian Artemin Panarin’s 30+47=77 last year.
Patrik Laine is so eager to score the end doesn’t matter anymore.
If the lockout seasons 1994-95 and 2012-13 are left out, the top scoring rookies have recorded on average 28.25 goals and 38.5 assists, equalling a total of 66.75 points.
Regardless of letting the totals of Selanne and Ovechkin slip away, the class of 2016 are still scoring at a good pace – there is no need to be worried nor report the occasional drought period so dramatically.
Written by Joonas Laine, Edited by Jonathan Leighfield