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Blackhawks by the numbers: The rookies

by Brad Boron / Chicago Blackhawks

The first season in the NHL is supposed to be a growth period; rookies aren’t usually expected to jump in and make significant impacts for their team. But 2011-12 was an exceptional year for Blackhawks rookies, as players including Marcus Kruger, Andrew Shaw, Dylan Olsen and Jimmy Hayes, among others, scored big goals, played in crucial moments and positively influenced the Blackhawks’ success in the campaign. Here are some of the Blackhawks rookies’ biggest achievements by the numbers:

Goals per game scored by Andrew Shaw, tops among all NHL rookies (min. 15 games). That goal-scoring average is better than NHL All-Stars such as Anze Kopitar, Eric Staal, Brad Richards and Pavel Datsyuk. 

Number of shots it took for Andrew Shaw to score his first NHL goal, which he tallied in his debut at Philadelphia on Jan. 5. One shot is impressive, but it also only took two shifts to get his first NHL sparring partner in Zac Rinaldo.

The average shorthanded time on ice per game recorded by Marcus Kruger, third among Blackhawks forwards behind Jonathan Toews and Dave Bolland. The Blackhawks allowed only 12 power play goals with Kruger on the ice in the season.

Number of multi-point games for Jimmy Hayes in 2011-12. Of those appearances, none was more important than his two-point game (1G, 1A) against the Detroit Red Wings on Feb. 21; Hayes tallied the tying goal and then assisted on the game-winner in the 2-1 victory.

Number of NHL rookies this season named Brandon, of which the Blackhawks had three: Bollig, Pirri and Saad. Only one other rookie Brandon played in the regular season: Philadelphia’s Brandon Manning.

Players who made their NHL debuts with the Blackhawks in 2011-12 (Brandon Bollig, Jimmy Hayes, Brandon Saad, Dylan Olsen, Andrew Shaw). Four other roster players (Marcus Kruger, Jeremy Morin, Brandon Pirri, Ben Smith) qualified as rookies under the NHL’s award eligibility definition.

The 2009 NHL Entry Draft may be remembered as a strong one in terms of its defensive prospects. In that draft, 12 defensemen were taken in the first round; with his debut Dylan Olsen became the 12th to play in the league, joining the likes of Nick Leddy, Viktor Hedman, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Dmitri Kulikov.

Only three players recorded 15 points in 30 games or fewer in 2011-12: Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, St. Louis’ Andy McDonald and Andrew Shaw.

Penalty minutes racked up by Brandon Bollig in 18 games, third on the Blackhawks; only Daniel Carcillo (82 in 28 games) and Jamal Mayers (91 in 81 games) had more. Bollig’s eight fighting majors on the year were fourth-most among all league freshmen.

Players selected ahead of Andrew Shaw in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft; only 10 other players selected in that draft saw NHL ice time in 2011-12. Only three 2011 draftees – Shaw, Brandon Saad and Philadelphia’s Sean Couturier – played in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Faceoffs won by Marcus Kruger, most among Western Conference rookies and fourth among rookies overall.

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