October 12, 2016
When Auston Matthews opened the 2016-17 season with four goals in his first NHL game, the league was emphatic in declaring this was not a record, noting Harry Hyland and Joe Malone had scored five goals in their debuts, and Reg Noble also scored four. Puh-lease. Of the 631 players to score in their first game, 52 have scored two goals and five have scored three goals. And then there are Matthews, Noble, Hyland, and Malone. However, Hyland was 29 years old and had played in the NHA (precursor to the NHL) since 1909. Malone was 27 and had been playing professionally since 1908. Noble was 21 and had two years of NHA play under his belt. Matthews’s feat should be considered the rookie record.