Hockey fans “in the know” might have been a little surprised when the Philadelphia Flyers traded for former European league scoring stud Ville Leino from the Detroit Red Wings. Still, for the casual fan, Leino was a face in the crowd at best. Chances are he’ll struggle to fly under the radar again after the kind of postseason he’s having.
Leino is climbing the ladder of all-time playoff scoring for rookies, now only two points from tying fiery forward Dino Ciccarelli for the highest mark. Here’s the list of the most productive first-year NHL’ers in the playoffs.
- Ciccarelli – 14 G, 7 A for 21 points in 19 games (’81)
- Don Maloney – 7G, 13A for 20 points in 18 games (’79)
- Leino – 7G, 12A for 19 points in 18 games
(There are three players listed at the 18 point mark; Jeremy Roenick did it in ’90 while Joe Mullen and Barry Pederson did it in ’82. Mullen and Pederson have the distinction of doing so in far less games, though. Mullen hit the 18-point mark in 10 games while Pederson did so in 11.)
It’s already been an amazing playoffs for Leino, but with one or two games left it’s not impossible that he could even hit the 22-point mark. That being said, it seems a bit much to call a 26-year-old player a “rookie” but that’s another discussion for another day. Either way, Leino already finds himself on a select list of first career playoff runs.
Could he pass the Phoenix Coyotes GM Maloney and maybe even Ciccarelli? It’s one of the many stories to watch as the Stanley Cup finals move forward.