The top five players on our list not only had good rookie seasons, but seasons that would be considered great seasons for regular veteran players. In stark contrast to the first five on our list, which consisted of three defensemen, there are no defensemen as part of the final five here. In case you missed it, here’s the first half: Top 10 Rookie Seasons since the Lockout (10-6)
5. Artemi Panarin (2015-16)
There was some controversy surrounding Panarin’s Calder win in 2016, as not only was he a bit on the older side at 24 years old, but he had already spent several years dominating in the Kontinetal Hockey League. Still, Panarin came over to the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2015-16 and had an impressive 30 goals and 47 assists for 77 points in 80 games. He finished 9th in league scoring overall.
4. Jimmy Howard (2009-10)
It might surprise some people that the only goaltender to win the Vezina since the lockout (Steve Mason) didn’t make this list, but upon looking deeper into the stats, it just really felt like others like Rask and Howard outperformed him. After three seasons of less than five games each, Howard became the starter for the Red Wings in 2009-10 and played in 63 games, winning 37 of them. Most impressively, he played that many games while managing a sparkling .924 save percentage. He finished second in Calder voting.
3. Evgeni Malkin (2006-07)
The Pittsburgh Penguins were remarkably fortunate to land both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on their team. Malkin joined for the 2006-07 season and immediately fit right in with 33 goals and 52 assists for 85 points. Malkin beat out Paul Stastny for the Calder, who was some good competition himself.
2. Sidney Crosby (2005-06)
“Sid the Kid” was the most hyped up player since Eric Lindros’ entrance to the NHL in the early 90s and he didn’t disappoint. 2005’s 1st overall pick played in 81 games and scored 39 goals with an impressive 63 assists for the rare 100+ point rookie season at 102 points. Amazingly, he didn’t win the Calder trophy, because #1 on our list did.
1. Alex Ovechkin (2005-06)
Despite Crosby being the most hyped player, the #1 pick from 2004 was who stole the show. Ovechkin scored 52 goals during his rookie campaign, the third highest rookie total all-time. He added 54 assists and with his 106-point season, claimed the Calder trophy as the NHL’s most impressive rookie.
Honourable Mention: Patrick Kane (2007-08)
Kane too home the 2008 Calder with his great puck skills and playmaking with 51 assists and 72 points.
Honourable Mention: Tyler Myers (2009-10)
The 48 points that the 6’8″ Tyler Myers was able to put up at 19 years of age created a lot of hype for his future that he’s unfortunately not been able to fully live up to. Still, he took home the 2010 Calder trophy for his efforts.