The countdown until the preseason opener hits 13 today and it's among the easiest entries on this list. With all due respect to Dave Christian, who was pretty good for 4 seasons in Winnipeg with 79 goals scored along with 130 assists for 209 points, and Ray Whitney, who was instrumental to Coyotes success of 2011 and 12 with 93 assists and 134 points in 137 games, they simply doesn't match up with Teemu Selanne. While known for wearing the number 8, Selanne actually wore 13 during his rookie season with Winnipeg in 1992-'93. It's one of the greatest individual seasons in NHL history and the basis for this entry. So to celebrate the greatest number 13 in Coyote franchise history, here are 13 random facts highlighting just how amazing that season was.
1. To start with, let's actually look at the stat line for that season:
84 GP, 76 G, 56 A, 132 P, 24 PPG, 7 GWG, 387 S, 19.6%
(GP=games played, G=goals, A=assists, P=points, PPG= powerplay goals, GWG=game winning goals, S=shots, %=shooting percentage)
Those numbers are insane, especially for someone who had never played in North America before the start of the season. He came straight from Jokerit of SM-liiga in Finland to begin lighting up the NHL as a 22 year old. It's still Teemu's greatest statistical season and he was as good during the playoffs that season, adding 4 goals and 2 assists in their six-game defeat to Vancouver.
2. The 76 goals absolutely shattered the previous record for goals scored by an NHL rookie which was 53 set by Mike Bossy in '77-'78. The next closest that anyone has come to even catching Bossy's old mark since Teemu's season is Alex Ovechkin's 52 goal rookie campaign in '05-'06.
3. The 76 goals scored by Selanne tied him for the league lead that season with Alexander Mogilny. Selanne and Mogilny would be the second and third euros to lead the league in goals scored in history that season, joining Selanne's fellow Fin, Jari Kurri. Selanne also became one of only 8 men to ever score 70 goals in a season joining Mogilny, Kurri, Bernie Nicholls, Brett Hull, Phil Esposito, Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky. Mogilny and Selanne are also the last men to have scored 70 or more goals.
4. The 132 points scored by Selanne are the all-time record for points scored by an NHL rookie, surpassing the old mark of 109 set by Peter Stasny in '80-'81 (Gretzky scored 137 in Edmonton's first NHL season, but since he had played in the WHA, he's not considered a rookie for record purposes by the NHL). Again, the closest anyone has come to even passing the old record Selanne blew past is Alex Ovechkin, who had 106 points in his NHL debut during the '06 season.
5. The goals and points scored by Selanne that year are all still the best in Jet/Coyote franchise history.
6. He also set franchise bests for even strength goals with 52, powerplay goals with 24 and shots with 387. In fact, to put the last point and this one in sharper relief, if you just took the even strength goals Selanne scored and ignored man advantage tallies, it would be tied for the 2nd best mark in franchise history with Keith Tkachuk's 52 goals scored in '96-'97 and one behind Dale Hawerchuk's 53 in '84-'85. That's nuts.
7. There were actually 17 different games during the season where Selanne didn't score at all, including 3 in a row from November 2 through November 8, 1992 against Montreal, Edmonton and Vancouver. That's 20% of the season that Selanne added nothing and still ended up with 132 points.
8. To offset those 17 pointless games, Selanne added 5 hat tricks including one 4 goal game against the Minnesota North Stars on February 28. The following game he would add another hat trick and the third goal would be number 54 and the record breaker. Selanne also added 8 games of 4 or more points and had one 5 point game on October 28 against Calgary.
9. There was only one team that Selanne didn't score against that season as he was held scoreless in 2 matchups against the New York Rangers. The only other team he didn't score a goal against was Buffalo but he did add 2 assists against the Sabres. He owned Edmonton scoring 19 points against the Oilers in 9 games including one of his hat tricks. Calgary was an interesting opponent as Selanne was held scoreless in 3 matchups with the Flames but had multipoint games the other 4 meetings including the aforementioned 5 pointer.
10. Selanne was pointless in back to back games on March 6 and 7 against Toronto and Buffalo and was then held goalless in a game against Vancouver on March 12. Why is this worth pointing out? Because in the other 11 games that month, Teemu would score 20 goals, which is still the NHL record for goals scored in a calendar month.
11. 132 points is still a very significant number. To understand how crazy good that number is, here is the list of players who have surpassed 132 points since that season:
- Mario Lemieux had 161 points in 1995-96
- Jaromir Jagr had 149 points in that season as well
And that's it. The next closest totals are Gretzky with 130 in '94, Joe Thornton and Jagr again with 125 and 123 respectively in '06 and Lemieux again in '97 with 122. Those are the only players since that season to break the 120 point barrier. And Selanne had 132 in his rookie season! That can't be stressed enough. He was a true rookie, with no North America experience. He came straight from the larger ice of Europe and turned the league on its head.
12. This point isn't as much about Selanne as it is about the '92-'93 season in general. It could be argued that it is the single greatest collective season in league history. Check out the top 10 scorers for that season:
- Mario Lemieux - 160 points
- Pat LaFontaine - 148 points
- Adam Oates - 142 points
- Steve Yzerman - 137 points
- Pierre Turgoen - 132 points (tied)
- Teemu Selanne - 132 points (tied)
- Doug Gilmour - 127 points (tied)
- Alexander Mogilny - 127 points (tied)
- Luc Robitaille - 125 points
- Mark Recchi - 123 points
That's 1353 points from the top 10 scorers. To understand how nuts that is, here's the combined point totals of the leading scorer for every season since: 2080 points. That's in 19 seasons and it's only 727 points higher. The entirety of the '93 season is nuts. Those top 10 point totals account for 10 of the top 72 marks in league history, or 13%. It's also 6 of the top 40 seasons ever or 15%. The only season that could even come close is the '88-'89 year which saw 4 of the top 16 seasons of all time: Lemieux's 199 points is 5th best, Gretzky's 168 points is tied for 8th best , Stevie Y's 155 points is 14th, and Bernie Nicholls' 150 points is 16th. That's 25 percent of the top 16 accounted for in one season, but from there it drops to Rob Brown and his 115 points. The fifth best score from that season would have been the 11th best total for the '93 campaign. Any way you slice it, the '93 season is one of the most historic in league history and Teemu's a huge reason why.
13. Finally, understand that Selanne was only a Jet for parts of 4 seasons. He only played 231 games for the franchise, but he still ranks in the top 10 in multiple franchise categories. He is 10th in goals with 147, 19th in assists with 159, tied for 13th in points with 306, 10th in even strength goals with 95, and 6th in powerplay goals with 49. His goals per game mark of .64 is tops in team history as is points per game mark of 1.32. Imagine what he could have done to the franchise record books had he not been traded to Anaheim on February 7, 1996.
There you have it, 13 facts about the greatest season in team history as performed by the greatest #13 in team history. And now that Teemu is coming back for another tour of duty with division rival Anaheim, we should all be happy that we still get to see amazingness personified in the Finnish Flash. Here's to you Teemu.