NHL Golden Oldies: Ranking the Top 10 Players Over 35

Franklin Steele@FranklinSteeleAnalyst IIApril 16, 2013

NHL Golden Oldies: Ranking the Top 10 Players Over 35

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    The NHL may be a young man's game, but that doesn't mean old dogs like Jaromir Jagr and Teemu Selanne don't have any fight left in them. The league is littered with players fighting against Father Time and winning—training methods become more advanced every year, and the advent of nutritionists and spot-on offseason workouts are allowing players to prolong their careers well into their 30s.

    Not only are some members of the 35-plus club lacing up their skates in the best hockey league in the world, but they are doing so and providing invaluable production and guidance out on the ice.

    These guys aren't just here to play. No, they are here produce and be integral parts of their respective team's success.

10. Dan Boyle, 36, San Jose Sharks

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    Defensemen who can play well in their own end and make a solid first pass are an important part of any successful hockey team. Dan Boyle is an exceptional offensive defenseman for the San Jose Sharks, and he is one of the smoothest skaters in the NHL.

    He's been a consistent 40-point player since joining the Sharks in 2008-09 and has never finished with a negative plus/minus rating.

    Boyle is one of the best over-35 defenders in the league and plays an invaluable part for the offense side of things in San Jose.

9. Ray Whitney, 40, Dallas Stars

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    The Dallas Stars are surging and fighting with several other teams for the final spot in the West. Dallas has been one of the hottest teams in the NHL as of late, and it should come as no surprise that the playoff push has coincided with Ray Whitney finally finding his A-game.

    The journeyman winger has played for eight different teams during his long career, posting 1,026 points over 1,254 games played.

    Whitney's stats aren't padded by big early seasons either. He's been nearly a lock for at least 60 points since 1997-98 and has quietly been one of the most consistent scorers in the NHL over that period of time.

8. Patrik Elias, 37, New Jersey Devils

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    Patrik Elias has become as synonymous with the New Jersey Devils as legendary goaltender Martin Brodeur—the former second-round selection has spent his entire 17-year career in New Jersey and is the franchise's leading scorer by nearly 200 points.

    He's helped the Devils win two Stanley Cups, and he was a large part of the team's run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2012.

    At 37, Elias is still going strong as he leads the Devils in points with 31.

7. Daniel Alfredsson, 40, Ottawa Senators

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    The longtime face of the Ottawa Senators, Daniel Alfredsson doesn't seem to have lost a step despite joining the exclusive 40-and-over club last December.

    Alfie scored 61 points in his rookie season and has never looked back. He's been one of the best players on the Senators for 17 seasons, and he has really stepped up his game this year as the Senators were decimated by injuries.

    Alfredsson has posted a whopping 1,105 points through 1,171 games in Ottawa and turns in an impressive plus-151.

6. Jarome Iginla, 35, Pittsburgh Penguins

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    It may take a while to get used to Jarome Iginla as a member of any other team besides the Calgary Flames, but the 35-year-old is still one of the better power forwards in the game and brings a great deal of credibility to the ice on a nightly basis.

    Iggy will do whatever it takes to win, and his style of play could put the Pittsburgh Penguins over the top on their trek to recapture the Stanley Cup. He's posted four points in seven games since joining the Pens, and the "Win it for Iginla" motivation should be palpable come playoff time.

    The surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer is already a member of the 500-goal club and has over 1,000 points through 1,226 NHL games, and he should have another couple of solid seasons left in the tank.

5. Zdeno Chara, 36, Boston Bruins

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    When the Boston Bruins went out and signed Zdeno Chara during the summer of 2006, they were acquiring a player that they wanted to embody the direction of their team moving forward. He's big, mean and nasty and at 36 is still one of the most effective defensemen in the game.

    Age shouldn't play a huge factor in Chara's quality of play over the next few seasons, as he's always relied on his physicality and monster slap shot as his weapons of choice.

    The largest player to ever lace up the skates in the NHL, Chara figures to continue anchoring the blue line in Boston until Dougie Hamilton is ready to take the torch.

4. Martin Brodeur, 40, New Jersey Devils

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    The winningest netminder in the history of the NHL, Martin Brodeur is arguably the most decorated and accomplished goaltender ever to play the game. He's been the anchor and face of the New Jersey Devils since the 1993-94 season and also is the NHL's all-time leader in shutouts.

    While his numbers have dwindled just a touch over the last few seasons, Brodeur is still very capable of being a strong starting goalie in the NHL. Any doubts about that were removed last year when he backstopped the Devils to the Stanley Cup Final before losing to the L.A. Kings.

    He's ironically stuck at 666 wins right now, but he could hit the 700-win mark if he decides to play for another season.

3. Teemu Selanne, 42, Anaheim Ducks

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    For the last three offseasons there have been questions about Teemu Selanne and whether he would return for another go-around in the NHL. And during each offseason, the Finnish Flash has decided that he has enough left in the tank for at least one more year.

    He's 42 now but posted a ridiculous 66 points last season and has been just as effective in 2013. Selanne would be on pace for about 50 points in a normal 82-game season, which makes one believe he might return to the Anaheim Ducks once again next year to chase the Stanley Cup one more time.

    The Ducks are one of the best teams in the NHL right now, and Selanne may have a hard time walking away at this point.

    Selanne is one of the best European players to ever play in the NHL, posting 1,429 points through 1,383 games played. He also smashed rookie scoring records in 1992-93 when he netted 76 goals and finished with 132 points.

2. Jaromir Jagr, 41, Boston Bruins

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    Jaromir Jagr may be 41, but he still looks like he is 35 out on the ice. His classic stride is still in place, as is the goal-scoring touch and vision that has made him so dangerous since he entered the NHL with the Pittsburgh Penguins back in 1990.

    Jags is proving once again that he's capable of posting nearly a point per game in the NHL despite his age, and he could very well play another two or three years if he maintains this level of play. The Boston Bruins acquired him to help the team return to the Stanley Cup Final, and he's already meshed incredibly well with his new teammates.

    He's become a bit of a hired gun over the last few years, playing with his third team in as many years, but Jagr still has more than enough talent to be a top-six player in the league.

1. Martin St. Louis, 37, Tampa Bay Lightning

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    There will be a straight-to-DVD movie made about Martin St. Louis and his unlikely rise from a small player who couldn't stick with the Calgary Flames to consistent top-10 scorer in the NHL. Mighty Mite is currently four points away from the NHL's scoring lead, and he could very well win the race at the age of 37.

    Look up and down the list of leading scorers every year and you're bound to see the names of younger guys and bigger players. That doesn't matter one bit to St. Louis, who has done nothing but score since he was given the chance to do so by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    There isn't a better player over the age of 35 in the NHL, and you'll be hard-pressed to find a more fiery competitor than St. Louis.