While the sport of hockey has produced figures who have gone on to become legends of the game, every player, iconic or completely forgettable, started his career in the same role: rookie.
For those who did not witness it, it is hard to fathom Wayne Gretzky's introduction to the NHL or Bobby Orr's first game. But at some point in history, every player, no matter his potential, had to prove himself on the ice.
Not every legend began his career with a stellar rookie season, and not every rookie who wowed the hockey world went on to a Hall-of-Fame-worthy career. But there is something special about a great rookie season.
Perhaps it is all the possibilities of becoming the Next One. Perhaps it is the knowledge that this is only the beginning. Perhaps it is the fact that the seemingly-limitless talent is possessed by someone who still needs his older brother to buy him beer in the United States.
Whatever the reason, we all find ourselves enamored with players who have truly special rookie seasons.
These are the 50 greatest first campaigns in the history of the sport.