The NHL has always been good to its young stars, allowing the top-tier talents to succeed at the earliest of ages. Teenage superstars are not something new, we’ve seen them with every generation. Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby, Eric Lindros, Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky. All have had huge seasons before they were able to drink (in the US at least).
This year, there is a new crop trying to put their name in the history books. Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, Zach Werenski, Travis Konecny are all off to blistering starts and look like all-stars already in the league.
There have only ever been 22 seasons in which a teenage player scored at a point-per-game pace (minimum 40 games), but that is what each of these players is close to. Obviously, to keep it up for an entire year is incredibly difficult but it isn’t so long since we’ve seen it happen.
McDavid fought through injury last season to put up 48 points in 45 games, though the second ranked teenage Jack Eichel only had 0.69 PPG. Both teenagers are leaders of their teams already, and expected to lead their franchises to the promised land.
We saw Crosby do it twice, in both 2005-06 and 2006-07. He recorded seasons of 102 and 120 points, actually setting the high mark for his career so far. He was alone though in the teenage group, as Alex Ovechkin lost out on his age-19 season due to a lockout (he’d go on to score 106 points as a 20-year old).
Perhaps the best example of a group this talented, this young, is way back in the early 80’s, when we saw the debuts of Larry Murphy, Denis Savard, Ron Francis, Dale Hawerchuk, Phil Housley and Steve Yzerman, among others. It was an unprecedented youth movement, that defined the game as we know it. While obviously this isn’t quite the same as those all-time greats (especially when speaking after just 10 games), this group should at least compete to have their names put in the all-time teenager lists.