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Cream of the crops (cont.)

Posted: Thursday February 2, 2006 1:54PM; Updated: Thursday February 2, 2006 4:34PM
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6. Ray Bourque, D, 1979-80, Bruins
Not only did Bourque post an impressive 65 points that set a new standard for rookie defensemen, he was an eye-popping plus-52 while helping the Bruins' cut their goals-against by nearly a half-goal per game. He was the first non-goalie in NHL annals to win the Calder and be named First Team All-Star.

7. Dale Hawerchuk, C, 1981-82, Jets
It is not so much that Hawerchuk's numbers stand out -- his 45 goals and 103 points place, respectively, fourth and third all-time among rookies -- it was the jolt the 18-year-old gave an abysmal club. The first-overall pick in 1981 propelled Winnipeg to an astonishing 48-point improvement that was then the biggest one-season turnaround in NHL history.

8. Peter Stastny, C, 1980-81, Nordiques
The Czech defector's 109 points served as the all-time rookie mark for more than a decade before it was eclipsed by Selanne. Stastny's 70 helpers are still tied for first. The highlight of his rookie campaign was when he and his brother, Anton, recorded hat tricks in consecutive games. They had eight points apiece in the latter, setting the NHL road game scoring record.

9. Joe Nieuwendyk, C, 1987-88, Flames
A major force on Calgary's special teams, Nieuwendyk registered 31 power-play goals -- tied for third all-time -- and added three shorthanded tallies. His total of 51 goals rank third among rookies and his 92 points are in the Top 10. The skilled pivot was no slouch at even strength as his plus-20 attests.

10. Brian Leetch, D, 1988-89, Rangers
With 71 points, Leetch averaged more than one per game and, despite missing 12 matches, his 23 goals set the all-time high for a rookie defenseman. His point total is second all-time among blue-liners.

Honorable Mention (in alphabetical order)
Syl Apps
, C 1936-37, Maple Leafs; Glenn Hall, G, 1955-56, Red Wings; Steve Larmer, RW, 1982-83, Blackhawks; Mario Lemieux, C, 1984-85, Penguins; Luc Robitaille, LW, 1986-87 Kings; Bryan Trottier, C, 1975-76, Islanders.