Teemu Selanne and the Best 40-Year-Olds in NHL History
Teemu Selanne's five-point game last night gave him 75 points on the season, and has shown that age is just a number for some players. If the Ducks end up making the playoffs this season, they have Selanne to thank for that.
He began his career with an outstanding rookie season where he scored 76 goals—an NHL record for rookies—and hasn't stopped since.
The Finnish Flash is currently sitting tied with Mike Gartner for 29th on the all-time scoring list with 1,335 points and his 101 game-winning goals and 235 power play goals place him fourth and sixth in NHL history in those respects.
After only 67 games this season and 75 points, Selanne has posted the third highest 40-year-old point total of all time. His 15 power play goals this year raise him to the top of that list.
Selanne without a doubt is having one of the best years of his career and doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon. However he isn't the only player to embrace the big 4-0 with a sudden jump in the stat charts. Let's see who else proved that they can still get it done at 40.
Mr. Hockey: Gordie Howe, Detroit Red Wings: 1968-69
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In his 23rd year with the Detroit Red Wings, Gordie Howe absolutely shattered any illusions of his age getting the best of him.
His personal high of 95 points in a season came all the way back in 52-53 and at the tender age of 40, Mr. Hockey put up a whopping 103 points—a stat that would remain his career high.
To further prove he could still play with the young kids, Howe racked up 58 penalty minutes over the 76 games and had six game-winning goals.
Oh, and he was a plus 45; no big deal.
Howe, who is the No. 1 all-time leading scorer in NHL history in the group of everyone who isn't named Gretzky, was the dictionary definition of hockey longevity. His 1,767 games played are testimony of that.
Ray Bourque, Colorado Avalanche 2000-01
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It's a shame to talk about Ray Bourque without referring to the Boston Bruins, but the Hall of Fame defenseman's 40-year-old season was quite an accomplishment nonetheless.
Bourque came over from Boston the previous season in an attempt to finally win a cup after so many years without one. One thing is for sure; he definitely made his mark on the young franchise.
Bourque played 80 games for the Avs that season putting up 59 points. His real contribution, however, came in the playoffs. Bourque helped the Avalanche win the club's second Stanley Cup by playing in all 21 games, scoring 10 points, and boasting a plus 9 rating in the post-season.
Bourque finally earned his Stanley Cup ring, and proved that a player's age isn't enough to crush his dreams.
Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings: 2010-11
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The current Detroit captain is as tough as they come, and according to many, one of the best defensemen of all time.
I believe that Nick Lidstrom's most telling career stat is the one that shows his determination. In every single season of his career, excluding 93-94 where he split time with a Swedish franchise, Lidstrom has played at least 76 games. This shows his impact on the team, and his ability to come back year after year, fight off injury and lead the Red Wings as best as he can.
At almost 41 years of age, Lidstrom is the leader of the perennial powerhouse in Detroit, the ruler of the Norris trophy for best defenseman and a national hockey star for Team Sweden. And he's still going strong after 40 years in the business.
If Nick Lidstrom isn't the whole package, I don't know what is.
Dave Andreychuk, Tampa Bay Lightning: 2003-04
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Dave Andreychuk isn't like these other stars in that he enjoyed traveling around the league a whole lot more than they did. Andreychuk played for five teams before landing in Tampa Bay and in his third season there, he finally was able to lift the Stanley Cup.
That season, 2003-04, happened to be when he turned 40, earning him the NHL record for oldest player to appear in his Stanley Cup debut.
Even after playing in all 82 regular season games, Andreychuk's success in that championship season was saved mostly for the playoffs. He had 14 points in 23 games to help Tampa Bay win its first (and only) Stanley Cup.
Johnny "Chief" Bucyk, Boston Bruins: 1975-76
Heading back to Boston, we have arguably the best 40 year-old performance of all time by Johnny Bucyk. The Bruins Hall of Famer put up 83 points in his last great season, and another nine in the playoffs. The stats that really turn heads though are Bucyk's 13 power play goals and nine game-winning goals—showing that even an old guy like him could still come through in the clutch.
Bucyk averaged over a point a game in 1975-76, putting him in a very exclusive group with Selanne and Howe to achieve that at age 40.