Trivia 6 – Rookie Cup Winners
Which four rookie goaltenders have led their teams to Stanley Cup Championships?
Ken Dryden played only six regular season games in 1970-71 for Montreal but led he team to a Cup Championship that season. It wasn’t until the following year in 71-72 that Dryden won the Calder as top rookie in the NHL.
Patrick Roy nn 1985-86 led Montreal to an unexpected Stanley cup and emerged as the youngest winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy at only 20 years of age. While still a rookie that season, Roy actually got his first taste of NHL action the previous year playing 20-minutes of shutout hockey to earn his first win.
Cam Ward led Carolina to its only Cup Championship in 2005-2006 as a rookie and, like Roy, took home the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
Antti Niemi last season led Chicago to the Cup Championship, becoming the first rookie goaltender to record 16 playoff victories. Interestingly, despite all the well-deserved accolades given Finnish goaltending of late, Niemi is the first to win the Cup and only the third to appear in the Cup Finals – who are the other two?
Ron Hextall deserves an honorable mention here. In 1986-87 Hextall tied Roy’s rookie record with 15 playoff wins and took home the Conn Smythe Trophy, although his team, the Philadelphia Flyers, lost the cup final to Edmonton in a seven game series.