CHRIS CHE­LIOS

The Hockey News - - Buzz -

FAIR WARN­ING – THERE’S go­ing to be a few Mon­treal Cana­di­ens on this list. The whole “rookie play­off dou­ble-down” rou­tine is kind of their thing.

In 1984, it was a 22-year-old de­fense­man from the U.S. Olympic team who earned reg­u­lar duty in the play­offs de­spite hav­ing just 12 reg­u­lar sea­son games to his name. Che­lios put up just two points in his late­sea­son au­di­tion, but ex­ploded for 10 points dur­ing Mon­treal’s run to the con­fer­ence fi­nal.

The fol­low­ing sea­son, Che­lios es­tab­lished him­self as a full-time NHL reg­u­lar, fin­ish­ing sec­ond to Mario Lemieux in the Calder Tro­phy race. He fol­lowed that up with an­other 10-point per­for­mance in the play­offs, although this time the Cana­di­ens were elim­i­nated in the sec­ond round.

As a re­minder of how cruel this game can be, Che­lios wasn’t even the Cana­di­ens’ most im­por­tant rookie dou­ble-dip­per in those two play­off runs. That was net­min­der Steve Pen­ney, who won 15 games over the course of two rookie post-sea­sons. But while Che­lios went on to play an NHL-record 266 play­off games over the course of a 26-year ca­reer, Pen­ney bat­tled in­juries and lost his start­ing job to some rookie named Pa­trick Roy. Pen­ney never ap­peared in the NHL play­offs again.

CHRIS CHE­LIOS

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