A 40-goal season is a fun milestone to hit for an NHL player. It’s not exactly a rarity. It’s happened 623 times in the history of the NHL. A lot of that happened in the roaring 70s and 80s. There was scoring in bunches, and the goalies seemingly had no choice but to watch the pucks go past them. That hasn’t been as prevalent recently.
During the 2019-20 season, there were five players who broke 40 goals despite the season being cut short by the coronavirus pandemic. Even during last year’s 56-game season, Auston Matthews was able to break the 40-goal mark. While that was a surprise just because of how short the season was, nobody was surprised at the man who scored those goals.
Once in a while, someone will come on the scene, score 40 goals in a miraculous run, and then they will never be heard from again. Sometimes they do this early in their career and injuries get the best of them, or other times it’s a 20-goal scorer who finds the right chemistry to hit 40 goals just the one time. Either way, it has a lot of people saying “wow” when they look at the stat line.
So, we decided to look at the most surprising members of the 40-goal club. Some of these players even made it into the more exclusive 50-goal club. These players came out of left field and put their stamp on the league. The first name is very recognizable, but the fashion in which he had his 40-goal season is what brings him on the list.