Another NHL season on the horizon meant another summer of preparation for players everywhere. While we are celebrating young talent in the league like Steven Stamkos, Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and Shea Weber, what about the rest of the bunch? What about the veteran guys who are over 30, still going about their business in the league?
Here's five veterans who have been around the league for a while now and are poised to compile some eye-opening seasons.
Richards, 31, is renowned throughout the league for his consistent play year in and year out. His 716 points in 772 career games speaks for itself, and that's not even his playoff stats, which are even more impressive.
At the end of the season, you'll find Brad's name in the top 10 for league scoring. One of the most underrated centermen and certainly one of the best playmakers in the game today, he's going to be a great fit for star winger Marian Gaborik. In fact, if Gaborik stays healthy, it isn't out of the question for him to score 40-50 goals this season.
A lot of people doubted Glen Sather and the Rangers for throwing Richards such a hefty paycheck for his services. After spending his whole career in Tampa Bay and Dallas, he's come from relatively small markets. So, now it's time to shine in the Broadway spotlight for Richards, where he will prove he's worth every penny he signed for.
Simon Gagne hasn't had the best of luck in recent years. A concussion, sports hernia, foot surgery, shoulder injury—all since 2008. Injuries have hindered him from bouncing back to the point-per-game player he once was with the Philadelphia Flyers earlier in his career.
So what's the good news for Philly out of this? Gagne was heating up down the stretch with Tampa Bay en route to the playoffs after returning from injury, and continued to notch 12 points in 15 playoff games with the Bolts. Don't forget about another recent Kings acquisition, Mike Richards. Gagne and Richards saw time together in Philadelphia, so reuniting them will undoubtedly be a welcome sight for Gagne.
While they signed him for $7 million over two years this summer, we can be sure of one thing: It won't be the same mistake as signing Alexei Ponikarovsky last summer.
"The Finnish Flash" continues to pencil his name under the title of "ageless wonder," dazzling the hockey world every time he steps onto the ice. At 41 now, Selanne enters his 21st season and 12th in a Ducks uniform.
Many doubted whether he was still able to compete at such a high level last season, but after tallying 80 points in 73 games, Selanne silenced any critics he may have had at the end of the season still. He's healthy now and still has the drive to be one of the best in the game today. Look for Selanne to continue that trend once again this year.
At 39 now, Jaromir Jagr wants another crack at the NHL and a Stanley Cup. Frankly, this is his best shot at it in a while, too. When he was signed, Jagr cautiously told the media that he's not promising to score at a point-per-game rate, but that he's going to try his best every game this season, which may have rubbed those who had high expectations the wrong way, but Jagr has impressed many doubters already by his preseason play.
He has reportedly dropped 20-30 pounds and feels on top of his game again. Let's keep in mind that just five years ago in New York, Jagr put up an astounding 54 goals and 123 points for the Blueshirts. Even his last season in the NHL, 71 points in 82 games, could be characterized as a successful one, especially on a poorly organized Rangers squad.
After playing in the KHL for three seasons now, where he has tallied point-per-game numbers, he wants to help the Flyers make another run like they did in 2010. Jagr will be the one to provide that valuably dangerous scoring spark this year.
Like a fine wine, Martin St. Louis just continues to improve with age it seems. Entering his 13th NHL season, and 11th in a row with the Lightning, St. Louis looks to continue leading the charge for this dramatically improved team. His 99-point campaign last season was his best since 2006-07, in which he totaled 102 points.
The heart and soul of the Lightning, it's hard to match the dedication and determination St. Louis has shown and continues to show each season. Along with then-Lightning player Gary Roberts, St. Louis also helped take a young, budding Steven Stamkos under his wing, helping him blossom into the star he is now. Look for St. Louis to go about business as usual once again this year.
Although he'll never be the biggest guy on the ice, you won't have to look far to find him when he's in the top five in NHL scoring again this year.