The modern points machine Connor McDavid fractured his clavicle in his rookie season, limiting him to 32 assists in 45 games, but even “The Next One,” Sidney Crosby, couldn’t break the rookie record for assists with 63. 

On The Great One, this list of NHL records is completely devoid of the name “Wayne Gretzky,” as he wasn’t deemed to be a rookie when he entered the league. 

So, in this strange territory for NHL records, these are the players who put up the most assists in the regular season and playoffs in their rookie seasons – as well as how Gretzky compared in his non-rookie first season.

Who Has the Most Regular Season Assists as an NHL Rookie?

The top spot for the most regular season assists by a rookie in the NHL records is tied between Joé Juneau and Peter Šťastný, both of whom put up 70 assists in their rookie campaigns. 

Šťastný put up his tally in the 1980/81 season for the Quebec Nordiques, totalling 109 points in 77 games, which also puts him in the history books as the first rookie to amass over 100 points. 

On top of this, the Slovakian, who was aged 24-years-old in his rookie season, still holds the joint record for points scored in a single game by a rookie with eight against the Washington Capitals in 1981 – four of which were assists.

Tied with Šťastný, arriving 12 years later, is Joé Juneau of the Boston Bruins. In the 1992/93 season, the Canadian played 84 games to tally 70 points and 102 points.

Juneau entered the league at the age of 24, having earned his degree in aeronautical engineering before signing on with the Boston Bruins. However, his first stint of 14 games for 19 points in 1991/92 didn’t nullify his rookie status.

After Šťastný and Juneau lands a three-way tie for third. All of Bryan Trottier (75/76), Sidney Crosby (05/06), and Mathew Barzal (17/18) of the New York Islanders finished their rookie seasons with 63 assists. 

Even though Barzal has remained a star player for the Islanders and helped to guide them to the playoffs this season, his rookie season remains his best for assists (63) and points (85).

The center’s five points in five playoff games this season weren’t enough to halt the progress of the Carolina Hurricanes, who’re now the +188 favourites to win the Eastern Conference in the NHL odds.

Who Has the Most Playoff Assists as an NHL Rookie?

Three players are tied for the most assists in the playoffs as an NHL rookie, with all three of them scoring 14 assists when entering the postseason in their first campaign in the NHL.

Marián Šťastný, brother of Peter – who holds the joint record for assists in the regular season as an NHL rookie – set the bar in 1981/82 for the Quebec Nordiques. He put up three goals and 17 points in 16 playoff games. 

In 2009/10, Ville Leino of the Philadelphia Flyers played 19 games in the playoffs as an NHL rookie, scored seven goals and 21 points in his 19-game run to the Stanley Cup Finals.

The final member of this NHL records group is Quinn Hughes. In the 2019/20 season, the American set the record for the most playoff assists by a rookie defenseman and tied the overall record for playoff assists. 

This season, there wasn’t much by way of rookie point or assist scoring in the first round of the playoffs. Topping the charts for assists was Logan Stankoven with two for the Dallas Stars at 3-2 in their series and +400 in the sport betting markets to win the Western Conference. 

How Many Assists Did Wayne Gretzky Get in his First NHL Season

At the age of 19, Wayne Gretzky wasn’t deemed to be a rookie in his first NHL season (1979/80), but if he were to be in Calder Trophy contention, he would still own several more records.

In 1979/80, The Great One put up 86 assists in the regular season – 16 more than the standing NHL record for rookie assists. Both record holders were 24-years-old in their rookie seasons. 

That said, while his first season in the NHL did see Gretzky go to the playoffs, the Edmonton Oilers bowed out swiftly, with Gretzky only taking to the ice in three games.

Officially, the NHL record for rookie assists stands at 70 by Šťastný and Juneau, but Gretzky did score 86 assists in his first NHL campaign.

*Credit for all images in this article belongs to Alamy*

Ben is very much a sports nerd, being obsessed with statistical deep dives and the numbers behind the results and performances.

Top of the agenda are hockey, soccer, and boxing, but there's always time for the NFL, cricket, Formula One, and a bit of mixed martial arts.