Awkward hug is awkward. Photo Credit-Reuters
The NHL has selected an All-Rookie Team since the 1982-83 season. The last Leaf to be named was Luke Schenn in 2008-2009 which feels like an eternity ago. All told 7 Leafs have been named to the All-Rookie team. With his inclusion on this year’s squad Jake Gardiner is joining some exclusive, and surprising company.
Here are the Leafs that have been named to the All-Rookie Team:
1985-86 Wendel Clark
1992-93 Felix Potvin
1994-95 Kenny Jonsson
1996-97 Sergei Berezin
1997-98 Mike Johnson
2008-2009 Luke Schenn
2011-2012 Jake Gardiner
Two names legitimately surprised me: Kenny Jonsson and Mike Johnson. Literally the only thing I could remember about Jonsson was that he was Swedish and we might have traded him to the Islanders. In his rookie season Jonsson had 3 goals and 7 assists for 9 points in 39 games on the Leafs blueline. Mike Johnson put together a pretty impressive rookie season scoring 15G, 32A, 47Pts in 85 games. Not bad.
The rest of the names you know and love. Or think are overpaid and should be shipped out of town, but let’s not get into that.
Looking through the years it seems as though every edition has one player you wouldn’t have expected to see there. Take the 1990-1991 team. Ed Belfour, Eric Weinrich, Rob Blake, Sergei Federov, and Jaromir Jagr were joined by Ken Hodge Jr. Who? Hodge played for the Bruins that season putting up 30 goals and 29 assists in 70 games. (seriously how inflated were goal totals in the 80s-early 90s) He would only play 67 games the rest of his career. So that’s good.
Generally speaking All-Rookie Team members have gone on to find success at the NHL level, specifically defensemen. If you take a look through the past teams
it’s hard not to get your hopes up for the future. This is just the cherry on top of an impressive rookie season by Gardiner. Chalk up one more reason why it’s unlikely that Gardiner is going anywhere this summer.