Nathan MacKinnon’s incredible playoff debut with the Colorado Avalanche puts him among some of the best 18- and 19-year-old scorers in post-season history.
Nathan MacKinnon had a pretty special post-season, even if his Colorado Avalanche bowed out in the first round. The first overall pick from 2013 stepped up in a big way, not just for his team, but in the record books. With 2 goals and 8 assists in just seven games, MacKinnon was the fastest 18-year-old to reach 10 points in the playoffs.
And as far as teenage scoring goes, he’s joining a list of some of the best players in history.
Here are the top 10 teenaged scorers in NHL history, ranked by their average points-per-game.
10. Jaromir Jagr (19 years old) – 1.143 PPG
Before Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr were the one-two punch behind the Pittsburgh Penguins juggernaut. And way back then, just like we’ve seen in recent history, the European scorer sometimes fared better in the playoffs than his Canadian co-star. Jagr was a phenomenal talent even as a teenager, and when the Pens won their second Stanley Cup in 1991-92, Jagr was a key contributor. He had 11 goals and 24 points through 21 games.
9. Pierre Turgeon (18 years old) – 1.167 PPG
Buffalo Sabres forward Pierre Turgeon had a decent 42-point rookie campaign, but he really started to figure it out in the 1987-88 playoffs, when he notched 4 goals and 7 points in six games.
8. Sergei Samsonov (19 years old) – 1.167 PPG
OK, so maybe not every player on this list can be considered ‘great,’ but Samsonov had a pretty fine playoff as a 19-year-old in 1997-98. In just six games with the Bruins, Samsonov scored 2 goals and notched 7 points.
7. Nathan MacKinnon (18 years old) – 1.429 PPG
You know the story here, folks. A brilliant 10-point first round wasn’t enough to get MacKinnon’s Avalanche past the Minnesota Wild, but it was enough to earn him a spot on this list. With some improvement next year and perhaps a deeper playoff run, MacKinnon stands a good chance of reaching greater heights as a 19-year-old.
6. Mike Bullard (19 years old) – 1.5 PPG
Another brief playoff appearance, another teenager looking pretty good in the points-per-game category. After scoring just 3 points in 15 games for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the regular season, Bullard put up 3 goals and 6 points in four playoff games. He never became a superstar, but with 329 career goals, 574 points and 727 games played, Bullard certainly had a respectable career.
5. Steve Yzerman (18 years old) – 1.5 PPG
Yzerman had a glorious rookie season with the Detroit Red Wings, notching 39 goals and 87 points to lead the team to the playoffs. He couldn’t get his team past a first-round sweep that year, but he did score 3 goals and 6 points in the losing effort.
4. Jimmy Carson (19 years old) – 1.6 PPG
Jimmy Carson started his career with huge numbers in the regular season and in the playoffs. He had 37 goals and 79 points for the Los Angeles Kings in his rookie season and followed that with a 55-goal, 107-point sophomore season in 1987-88. Carson rode those numbers into the playoffs and put up 5 goals and 8 points in five games. After one more 100-point season with Edmonton the next year, Carson never came close to those numbers again.
3. Pierre Turgeon (19 years old) – 1.6 PPG
Proof that MacKinnon can still impress on this list, Turgeon had an even better playoff as a 19-year-old. He scored 3 goals and 8 points in 5 games with the Sabres in the 1988-89 playoffs. Unfortunately, he again failed to get past the first round.
2. Dale Hawerchuk (18 years old) – 2 PPG
The all-time points-per-game playoff leader among 18-year-olds, Hawerchuk tried to put the Winnipeg Jets on his back in the first round of the 1981-82 playoffs. Alas, the Jets were swept out of the playoffs that year, but Hawerchuk still had 1 goal and 8 points in the losing effort.
1. Wayne Gretzky (19 years old) – 2.333 PPG
They call him the Great One for a number of reasons, and this is one of them. As a 19-year-old, Gretzky shreds the rest of this list with his numbers. In nine games he had 7 goals and 21 points for the Edmonton Oilers in their second season in the NHL. Those numbers were obviously a sign of real greatness to come.