In the NHL, teenagers rarely score a lot at even strength. This is even more true of newly drafted 18-year-olds, who even if they have great seasons, usually make their points on the powerplay. Players as great as Steven Stamkos and Tyler Seguin struggled to find their footing in the NHL at 18, yet once in awhile players do dominate at that age, usually it's someone like Sidney Crosby.
However one player who tore the league to shreds at even strength didn't get much credit for it at the time, and that's Montreal Canadiens youngster Alex Galchenyuk. His 2.84 points per 60 minutes played was absurd, and should have netted him the Calder Trophy with ease, but he was given very little ice time, and even less powerplay time.
But where does Galchenyuk's rookie season rank against other great 18-year-olds? In order to compare accurately, we can use Jonathan Willis' era-adjusted scoring statistic, which treats each season as if there were six goals per game on average. It's not a perfect adjustment, but an interesting one to say the least.
A few things to keep in mind with Galchenyuk's rookie season; he was coming off of major reconstructive knee surgery that caused him to miss nearly the entire previous season, his rookie season was shorter than most players on this list, and he had a very high on-ice shooting percentage (meaning he got his fair share of luck).
With all that information in mind, here is how Galchenyuk ranks against other great 18-year-old rookies since the 04-05 lockout:
|Player||ES Points/60||Era-adjusted points/60||Year||On-ice SH%||Corsi%|
So who guessed that Galchenyuk produced at a higher rate than Crosby? Anyone?
Obviously had Galchenyuk played 82 games instead of 48, his production would have slipped a little bit had he been exposed to a full season, and he does have the highest on-ice shooting percentage of anyone listed, but neither of those things takes away what he was able to do at 18, something players like Tavares, Stamkos, Hall, and Seguin struggled to.
Obviously Galchenyuk isn't better than Crosby, or Stamkos, or Tavares, but his point production at this age puts him in an elite category that most people are reluctant to include him in.
Now imagine when he finally gets moved to center full time.