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Youthful Achievements: Barry Pederson and Sidney Crosby

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I highly recommend taking a quick spin through hockey-reference.com's game and season database search tools.  Here are the top playoff scorers from age 18 to 21, minimum 20 games played, ranked by points-per-game:

 

Player   Years Tm   Pos   GP   G   A   PTS   PPG
Barry Pederson  1982-83 BOS  C  28 21 29 50 1.79
Sidney Crosby " height="17">Sidney Crosby  2007-09 PIT  C  49 24 39 63 1.29
Stan Mikita  1960-62 CBH  C  27 12 21 33 1.22
Ken Linseman  1979-80 PHI  C  25 6 24 30 1.20
Steve Yzerman  1984-87 DET  C  23 10 17 27 1.17
Denis Savard  1981-83 CBH  C  31 19 16 35 1.13
Eric Staal " height="17">Eric Staal  2006-06 CAR  C  25 9 19 28 1.12
Pierre Turgeon  1988-91 BUF  C  23 12 13 25 1.09
Dino Ciccarelli  1981-82 MNS  RW  23 17 8 25 1.09
Bobby Orr  1968-70 BOS  D  28 10 20 30 1.07
Evgeni Malkin " height="17">Evgeni Malkin  2007-08 PIT  C  25 10 16 26 1.04
Michel Goulet  1981-82 QUE  LW  20 11 9 20 1.00
Nicklas Backstrom " height="17">Nicklas Backstrom  2008-09 WSH  C  21 7 14 21 1.00
Trevor Linden  1989-92 VAN  RW  26 7 19 26 1.00
Alex Kovalev " height="17">Alex Kovalev  1994-95 NYR  RW  33 13 19 32 0.97

 

While Sidney Crosby's greatness is readily apparent, it's amazing how far Barry Pederson is ahead of the pack.  The Pederson-Rick Middleton combination was amazing in the 1982-83 playoffs, but they came up against the eventual cup champion Islanders and went down four games to two.  Pederson looked like a sure-fire hall of famer, but underwent numerous surgeries after a tumor was found in his shoulder and was never the same player.  He would have just two playoff points after age 21.

At the other end, we have the top playoff scorers, age 38 and older:

 

Player   Years Tm   Pos   GP   G   A   PTS   PPG
Jean Beliveau  1971-71 MTL  C  20 6 16 22 1.10
John Bucyk  1974-77 BOS  LW  36 11 17 28 0.78
Nicklas Lidstrom " height="17">Nicklas Lidstrom  2009-09 DET  D  21 4 12 16 0.76
Raymond Bourque  1999-01 BOS  D  46 6 23 29 0.63
Bill Guerin " height="17">Bill Guerin  2009-09 PIT  RW  24 7 8 15 0.63
Sergei Fedorov " height="17">Sergei Fedorov  2008-09 WSH  C  21 2 11 13 0.62
Dave Andreychuk  2003-04 TBL  LW  34 4 16 20 0.59
Ron Francis  2002-04 CAR  C  35 6 14 20 0.57
Brendan Shanahan " height="17">Brendan Shanahan  2007-09 NYR  LW  27 7 8 15 0.56
Adam Oates  2001-03 WSH  C  32 4 11 15 0.47
Igor Larionov  1999-04 DET  C  45 7 14 21 0.47
Larry Robinson  1990-92 LAK  D  24 3 7 10 0.42
Scott Stevens  2003-03 NJD  D  24 3 6 9 0.38
Steve Thomas  2002-04 CHI  LW  32 5 6 11 0.34
Guy Carbonneau  1999-00 DAL  C  40 4 8 12 0.30

 

While young playoff phenoms have shown up every few years, the idea of a player remaining productive in the playoffs until age 40 is very much a modern one.