Ranking the 5 Greatest Rookie Seasons in Philadelphia Flyers History

Dan FremuthContributor IIIOctober 17, 2013

Ranking the 5 Greatest Rookie Seasons in Philadelphia Flyers History

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    The Philadelphia Flyers have had a host of impact players through the years. Hall of Famers, All-Stars and rookies.

    While the 2013-2014 edition of the Flyers' roster doesn't appear to have many impact first-year players, that certainly hasn't always been the case for the orange and black. Since 1983, Philadelphia has had 10 players named to the NHL All-Rookie Team.

    Here's a look at the five greatest rookie campaigns in Flyers history.

5. Simon Gagne, 1999-2000

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    At just 19 years old, Simon Gagne burst onto the NHL scene during the 1999-2000 season.

    Less than 12 months after being chosen with the 22nd overall pick in the 1998 draft, Gagne had completed a rookie campaign which saw the Quebec native register 20 goals, 28 assists and 48 points while suiting up for 80 of the club's 82 contests.

    Gagne's 20 goals were good for fourth-best on the roster that year while his 28 assists and 48 points were good for sixth among all Flyers.

    That season was the first of nine campaigns during which Gagne would record double-digit goals and was good enough to have the winger named to the NHL's All-Rookie Team.

4. Janne Niinimaa, 1996-1997

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    It took Janne Niinimaa three seasons of playing in the Finnish Elite League before he broke into the NHL. But when he finally did, the defenseman made an instant impact.

    During the 1996-97 campaign, Niinimaa played in 77 of Philadelphia's 82 games while compiling four goals, 40 assists and 44 points. Those 44 points were not only good for seventh among all Philadelphia skaters that year, but also tied for the most points the Finnish native would manage in a single season in his 10-year NHL career.

    Niinimaa lasted less than two full seasons in the City of Brotherly Love, but his first-year impact was good enough to see him named to the NHL All-Rookie Team.

3. Eric Lindros, 1992-1993

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    Eric Lindros may not have lived up to all the hype that preceded his NHL career, but he certainly had an impactful first campaign.

    During the 1992-93 season, the Big E produced 41 goals, 34 assists and 75 points in just 61 games.

    Lindros' 41 goals were good for second-best on the team while his 75 points finished third on the roster.

    Normally, that sort of first-year production makes a player a lock for the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie. Unfortunately for Lindros and the Flyers, his production came during the same season in which Winnipeg's Teemu Selanne set an NHL rookie record for goals (76) and points (132) in a single season.

    Still, Lindros' totals were more than enough to see the London, Ontario native named to the NHL's All-Rookie Team.

2. Ron Hextall, 1986-1987

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    Ron Hextall had several outstanding seasons throughout his Flyers career, but his first was arguably his most impressive.

    During the 1986-87 season, Hextall compiled a 37-21-6 record in 66 appearances while posting a 3.00 goals-against average to go along with a .902 save percentage.

    His 37 victories were the most in a single season for Hextall over his 13-year NHL career. What's more, the Manitoba native's production was so impressive that he was awarded the Vezina Trophy as the league's top netminder while also being named to the NHL's First All-Star Team and All-Rookie Team.

    Despite falling to the Edmonton Oilers in seven games in the Stanley Cup Final, Hextall capped off his spectacular rookie campaign by claiming the Conn Smythe Trophy as postseason MVP after a 15-11 mark in 26 playoff appearances.

1. Mikael Renberg, 1993-1994

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    Mikael Renberg began his NHL career with what would prove to be the best season of his 10-year NHL tenure.

    While playing in 83 of Philadelphia's 84 games during the 1993-94 season, Renberg recorded 38 goals, 44 assists and 82 points. The Swede finished third among all Flyers in both goals and points that year while ending the campaign with the fifth-most assists on the team.

    To date, Renberg's 82 points remain a franchise rookie record for most points in a single season.

    For his efforts, Renberg was named to the NHL's All-Rookie Team, but lost out on the Calder Trophy to future goaltending legend Martin Brodeur.