The Top Nine One-Hit Wonders in NHL History

Ryan DavenportContributor IAugust 11, 2011

The Top Nine One-Hit Wonders in NHL History

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    Each year, there a handful of NHL players who exceed even the loftiest of expectations with surprisingly productive performances.  

    Unfortunately, many of these players never again come close to matching their breakout seasons, and forever become labeled as 'one-hit wonders'.  

    To become known as a one-hit wonder, a player must have at least one exceptional season or postseason, followed by an extreme drop-off in their play the next season.  

    A good number of the names that fall into this category have been largely forgotten by hockey fans, primarily because they weren't in the spotlight long enough to be remembered.  

    With that in mind, here's a look at the nine best one-hit wonders in NHL history.  

9. Fernando Pisani

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    During the Edmonton Oilers downright shocking run to the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals, no forward was as important to the team as Fernando Pisani, a player who had never scored 20 goals or 40 points in a single season.  

    However, during the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Pisani was as clutch as any player in hockey, scoring 14 goals in 24 games, though the Oilers fell to the Carolina Hurricanes in Game Seven of the Finals.  

    Though Pisani was virtually unstoppable during that Postseason, he has since struggled to even match his 2006 Playoff goal total during an entire season, as he hasn't potted more than 14 goals in a full season since 2006.  

8. Wayne Babych

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    Wayne Babych's name isn't on this list because he only had one solid season offensively at the NHL level, but rather because he had one superstar-calibre campaign while the rest of his career was average.  

    Selected Third Overall by the St. Louis Blues in 1978, Babych had a very impressive start to his NHL career, putting home 53 goals in his first two seasons combined.  While rookie and sophomore performances of 27 and 26 goals are certainly respectable numbers, it couldn't have prepared the hockey world for what came during his third season.  

    In 1980-81, the young Alberta native poured in 54 goals and 96 points, and lead the entire league in even strength markers with 40.  

    Unfortunately, Babych came crashing back down to earth during the postseason, as he posted just two goals in 11 games, which ultimately became a sign of things to come.  

    From there, Babych never again found the scoring touch that he had in 1980-81, as he reached the 20-goal plateau on just one other occasion after his breakout campaign.  

7. Steve Penney

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    In 1985, the Montreal Canadiens thought they'd found their goaltender of the future, and no, his name wasn't Patrick Roy.  

    That's because rookie netminder Steve Penney burst onto the NHL scene in the 1984 Playoffs, posting a 9-6 record, leading all goaltenders in goals against average and shutouts along the way.  

    The following season, Penney sported an impressive 26-18-8 record, and was named to the All-Rookie Team for his efforts.  

    Unfortunately, that's as good as it would get for Penney, as he never again played 20 games in an NHL season, largely due to the fact that the Canadiens uncovered a future Hall of Fame goalie in Patrick Roy.  

6. Chris Kontos

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    During Chris Kontos' 230 NHL games, he tallied 54 goals, and had just one season in which he tallied more than 20 points.  

    However, for 11 games during the 1988-89 Playoffs, there was no goal scorer as hot as Los Angeles' Kontos, as the 25-year old journeyman piled in nine goals for the Kings.  

    Kontos' numbers are padded by a four-goal performance in the opening game of the Playoffs, but his statistics are still mind-boggling when considering how badly he struggled to find the net throughout the rest of his career.  

    While Kontos did manage a 51-point season with a terrible Tampa Bay Lightning team in 1992-93, he was rarely a regular at the NHL level after that magical 1989 Postseason.  

5. Andrew Raycroft

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    In 2003-04, the Boston Bruins thought they had one of the best young goaltenders in the game in Andrew Raycroft, as the 24-year old captured the Calder Trophy as the league's rookie of the year.  

    After his 29-win rookie campaign, Raycroft entered the NHL lockout as the Bruins' starting goaltender, but by the time Boston resumed play in 2005-06, his game had disappeared.  

    Raycroft posted a dreadful eight wins in 30 games that season, and quickly became Boston's third-string goalie with a save percentage of .879.  

    Since being traded by the Bruins, Raycroft has played for three NHL clubs, but has never again been considered a starting goaltender.  While he may be adequate as a backup, that wasn't the role Boston envisioned him filling after his spectacular rookie campaign.  

4. Scott Bjugstad

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    A Minnesota native, Scott Bjugstad appeared to be a perfect fit for the North Stars in 1985-86, when he opened eyes around the hockey world with his scoring touch.  

    That season, Bjugstad notched 43 goals and 76 points, which was especially surprising considering he'd tallied just 11 goals in 72 games the previous year.  

    Unfortunately for North Stars fans, Bjugstad never came close to matching those totals, as only hit the 10-goal plateau one more time over the course of his career.  

    Of Bjugstad's career total of 76 goals, only 33 were scored outside of the 1985-86 season, and he was out of the NHL five years later, at the age of 30.  

3. Jim Carey

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    Many hockey fans forget that before Olaf Kolzig emerged as the Washington Capitals' franchise goaltender in 1997-98, there was another young phenom between the pipes in the nation's capital.  

    That man was Jim Carey, who quickly became regarded as one of the best goalies in the NHL due to his outstanding play during the 1994-95 and 1995-96 Seasons.  In 1994-95, Carey sported a stellar 18-6-3 record for Washington during the lockout-shortened season, and was named to the NHL's All-Rookie Team.  

    The following year, Carey won the Vezina Trophy, and was selected for the league's First All-Star Team, virtually cementing his status as a superstar-in-the-making.  

    Sadly, Carey's career declined just as quickly as it took off, and he was so bad during the 1996-97 season that the Capitals traded him to Boston for an aging Bill Ranford.  

    After failing to rekindle the magic he had in 1996, the Bruins traded him to St. Louis, but he lasted just four games as a member of the Blues.  

2. Jonathan Cheechoo

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    Jonathan Cheechoo is the perfect example of how playing alongside the most gifted set-up man in the league can help one's career immensely.  

    Following Joe Thornton's arrival in Boston in 2005, he formed a deadly partnership with Cheechoo, as Thornton captured the Hart Trophy and Cheechoo won the Rocket Richard with 56 goals and 93 points.  

    The next year, his numbers fell off considerably, as he potted 37 goals and 69 points, but no one expected his nose for the net to disappear completely.  

    From there, things got progressively worse for Cheechoo, as he never again tallied 25 goals or 40 points, and was dealt to Ottawa as part of the package San Jose sent in exchange for Dany Heatley in the summer of 2009.

    As a Senator, Cheechoo registered just five goals in 61 games, before being relegated to the AHL for the 2010-11 campaign.   

1. Jimmy Carson

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    When the Edmonton Oilers agreed to trade Wayne Gretzky to the Kings, the centerpiece (other than cash) of the package Los Angeles sent in return was a promising young sniper named Jimmy Carson.  

    After a 37-goal performance as a rookie, Carson followed that up with a stunning 55-goal, 107-point season for the Kings in 1987-88, and the Oilers believed they'd be getting a scorer who could help replace the offensive void created by the Great One's departure.  

    While Carson did have an impressive first season in oil country, potting 49 goals and 100 points, he quickly grew tired of all the pressure generated by the trade, and requested a trade.  

    The Oilers obliged, dealing him to Detroit that season.  As a Red Wing, Carson managed two more 30-goal seasons, so he's not a true one-hit wonder, but the tailspin his NHL career went into is simply undeniable.  

    Once thought to be one of the most promising young goal scorers in the game's recent history, he was out of the NHL completely by the age of 32.