Most youngsters growing up as die-hard hockey fanatics dream of making it to the NHL. They dream of lacing up their skates and stepping onto the ice for their first shift. These same kids dream of playing one game, let alone 1,000 games.
There are currently 25 league veterans who have skated at least 1,000 games. These players are Stanley Cup champions, Art Ross winners, Hart Trophy winners, and Conn Smythe recipients. This list contains some of the best players in the game today.
Regardless of how you feel about certain teams and players, these men should be commended for their longevity.
Here are the top veterans in the league today.
It appears to be a common theme of this list but Radek Dvořák is yet another player who has played in over 1,000 games and for multiple teams. Dvořák has suited up for the Florida Panthers, New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers, St. Louis Blues and is currently a member of the Dallas Stars.
He has scored 215 goals and has assisted on 341 others for 556 career points. Dvořák has always been a player who could put up quality points and play in different systems.
Dvořák is a talented player nonetheless for having longevity in the league.
Adrian Aucoin has a lot of NHL experience. He has been a solid defenseman who was known for his shot and power-play prowess.
He is currently a member of the Phoenix Coyotes, and he has 1,021 games of service under his belt.
“Jovocop” made his triumphant return to the Panthers this July. The aging defenseman hopes to have a new lease on life after returning to where he started his career. Jovanovski also spent some time in Vancouver and Phoenix.
Jovanovski has always been a solid depth defenseman and has 481 career points. His physical presence is key to his game, as he likes to throw his weight around.
At 35 years of age, Jovanovski is one of the older veterans on this list.
Hal Gill comes in at No. 22 on our list. Gill is a true veteran and a champion. Gill won his first and only Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals.
Gill is currently a member of the Montreal Canadiens, where he is known by his nickname “Beast of the East”. Gill is a notorious pugilist and physical player. This really comes in handy when your goaltender is unceremoniously showered with snow.
No matter how you slice it, Gill is a good teammate to have.
Sean O Donnell is a notorious brigand in the NHL. His 1,790 career PIMS are a testament to that. He is a rough and tough defender you don’t want to cross.
He has bounced around the league from team to team.
He has appeared in 1,185 career games, and that’s impressive for a tough guy like O’Donnell.
Todd Bertuzzi is an infamous hockey player for the Steve Moore incident, but he has longevity in the league despite that.
He is another rough and tough forward who could knock you into next week if he felt like it. Thanks to some rule changes, these hits now come with a price.
Bertuzzi has bounced around the league throughout his tenure. He may be a tough guy but can sometimes surprise you with uncanny soft hands as displayed in the video.
Daymond Langkow is a true journeyman in the NHL. He has spread out his 1,017 career games as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Phoenix Coyotes, Philadelphia Flyers and the Calgary Flames.
During his time in the league, he has scored 262 goals and 388 assists for 650 total points. Langkow has always been a solid forward who averaged around 50 to 60 points and put up career numbers during the 2006-07 season with 77 points.
Langkow is currently 35 years old and is on the back end of his career. He is a good player to have on your team and has valuable NHL experience to tutor young players.
Brunette, like Langkow, is another NHL journeyman. Brunette has been a member of six teams including the Minnesota Wild, Colorado Avalanche, Chicago Blackhawks, Washington Capitals, Atlanta Thrashers and Nashville Predators.
Throughout his 1,032 games of service, Brunette has scored 256 goals and 450 assists for 706 total points.
Brunette has been an ideal teammate and a consistent points contributor.
Brian Rolston is currently an alternate captain on the New York Islanders. He was also a member of the New Jersey Devils. Rolston also represented his country in 2002 when he won a silver medal at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.
In his 1,186 career games, Rolston has scored 335 goals and 402 assists for 737 points. Rolston brings a veteran presence to a youthful New York Islanders club.
Ryan Smyth recently returned to the Edmonton Oilers after a brief stint on Long Island and some time spent out west in Los Angeles and Colorado.
He is a fan favorite who has appeared in 1,083 games. During this time, Smyth has scored 362 goals and 412 assists for 774 career points.
Smyth brings grit and skill to his game, and his shot makes him a power-play threat.
Roman Hamrlik has played almost 20 seasons in the NHL. He is one of the league's wily veterans who are still hanging in there. During his almost two-decade career, Hamrlik has contributed 154 goals and 471 goals for a total of 625 points.
Hamrlik is on the down end of his career, but he should still be commended for his longevity.
Langenbrunner comes in at No.14 on the list. He is a two-time Stanley Cup winner after winning with Dallas in 2000 and with the New Jersey Devils in 2003. He was the team captain until he was dealt back to Dallas last season.
He signed with St.Louis as a free agent this offseason.
During his career, Langenbrunner has scored 238 goals and 405 assists for 643 total points in 1,049 games. He is a true leader in St. Louis along with his long time teammate and friend Jason Arnott.
Langenbrunner is an average scorer but is a valuable part of a St. Louis team attempting to improve.
Sergei Gonchar is an offensive defenseman who has thrived as a power-play quarterback. He put up some career numbers quarterbacking Pittsburgh’s power play.
During his career, Gonchar has scored 209 goals and 511 assists for 720 career points. Gonchar continues to be a towering defenseman with a booming shot who can put up a big goal every now and again.
Gonchar is currently a member of the Senators after previously playing for the Capitals and Penguins.
Jason Arnott is a player who is a scorer and a winner. He won the Stanley Cup in 2000 with the New Jersey Devils. It was a crowning moment for Arnott and he has been a good teammate on the various teams he contributed to.
In his NHL tenure of 1,186 games, Arnott has scored 403 goals and has assisted on 509 others for 912 career points.
Here is a list of teams that Ray Whitney has played for.
He has gotten around the league and as has an impact. In the 1,160 games he has played, Whitney has 347 goals and 593 assists for 940 points.
He is a talented veteran who can come through during the playoffs and he could be a valuable commodity at this year’s trade deadline.
- Stanley Cup Champion (2006)
- Two Time All-Star
Patrick Marleau is a talented forward who can play both the left wing and center position with ease. He is also a big part of the San Jose Sharks because of his offensive proficiency. Marleau is a talented skater, shooter, and passer.
He is currently an alternate captain for the Sharks and a vital part of their lineup. Here are some career statistics for Marleau.
- Assists- 409
- Three-Time All-Star
Current Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan comes in at No. 8 on our list. Doan has scored 296 goals and 442 assists in 738 games during his Coyotes/Jets career thus far.
What makes Doan such a remarkable member of the 1,000+ games club is that he has spent his entire career with one team and he intends to keep it that way.
The only way Doan would consider leaving Phoenix would be if they indicate they are going to relocate to a new market. Doan is one of the players on the list never privileged enough to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup, but he is a talented star nonetheless.
- King Clancy Trophy Winner in 2010
Jumbo Joe Thornton just entered the 1,000-game club but he has accomplished a lot in a short amount of time. He has maintained an above PPG average. as Thornton has amassed 1,014 points in 1,008 games.
Thornton has already won an Art Ross Trophy, a Hart Trophy, and has had a couple of 100-point campaigns. All in all, Thornton still has some good hockey ahead of him, so continue to expect him to put up decent numbers.
- Six-Time All-Star
- (2006) Art Ross Trophy
- (2006) Hart Trophy
- Third player to record back-to-back 90-assist seasons
Aging captain Daniel Alfredsson comes in at No. 7 on the power rankings. Alfredsson is a huge part of the Senators power play and has been a stalwart for years. He is a lifelong Senator and is adored by the fans.
Alfredsson has been a warrior for the Sens throughout his career. He is a member of the 1,000-point club with 1,024 overall points scored with 389 goals and 634 assists.
It will be a sad day in Ottawa when Alfredsson finally hangs them up.
- (1996) Calder Trophy
- Four-Time All-Star
Give me your lunch money
Pronger has an intimidating face that just shouts, "give me your lunch money!"
Chris Pronger is the measuring stick in today’s NHL for hard-nosed, intimidating defensemen. He is a rough and tough, take-no-nonsense defenseman who will check you into next week without batting an eye. He has a true hockey smile to boot.
He also knows a thing or two about firing a puck from the point on a power play. Here are Pronger’s career numbers
The big bad bruiser is currently on IR after taking a high stick to the right eye. Hopefully, he makes a quick and speedy recovery.
- Norris Trophy Winner (2000)
- Hart Trophy Winner (2000)
- Stanley Cup w/ Anaheim Ducks (2007)
- Six-Time All-Star
Marty Brodeur is a goalie who needs no introduction, so I will let his stat sheet speak for itself.
*Achievements and Records
- Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist
- Three-Time Stanley Cup Winner
- 10-Time All-Star
- Four-Time Vezina Trophy Winner
- Five-Time William J. Jennings Trophy Winner
- Most regular season wins: 625
- Most shutouts: 116
- Most shutouts, regular season & playoffs combined: 137
- Most overtime wins: 45
- Most consecutive 30-win seasons: 12
- Most consecutive 35-win seasons: 11
- Most 40-win seasons: 8
- Youngest goalie to reach 300, 400, and 500 career wins
- Only goalie to reach 600 career wins
- Most games played by an NHL goaltender: 1132
- Most total minutes played by an NHL goaltender: 66,636
- Only NHL goalie to score a game-winning goal
- Tied for Most career goals by a goaltender, including playoffs - 2 with Ron Hextall
- Most wins in a single season: 48
- Most minutes played in a single season: 4,697
Marty Brodeur is simply one of the greatest goalies the game of hockey has ever seen. He has put up mind-boggling numbers and records that may never be broken.
*Courtesy of NHL.com NHL Records
Jarome Iginla is probably one of the greatest players in NHL history...not to win a Stanley Cup. It is a true shame, because a controversial call could have changed his fate.
Despite this, Iginla is still one of the more dominant veterans in the league today. He can still put up consistent 30-goal seasons and is a power-play threat.
Here are some of Iginla’s career stats.
Trade rumors are always swirling about Iginla, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this is finally the year that Iggy gets dealt.
- Two-Time Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy (2002,2004)
- Art Ross Trophy (2002)
- Lester B. Pearson Award (2002)
- King Clancy Trophy (2004)
- Mark Messier Leadership Award (2009)
The Finnish Flash is an icon when it comes to the game of hockey. His speed at his peak was unmatched, his hands were soft and gentle, and his scoring touch was electric and lethal.
Teemu Selänne will have amassed a total close to 1,400 points by the time he hangs up his skates.
- Goals: 642
- Assists: 712
- Points: 1,354
- Winter Olympic Games all-time points leader (37)
- NHL single-season record for goals by a rookie (76 in 1992–93)
- NHL single-season record for points by a rookie (132 in 1992–93)
- NHL single season record for most goals by a European player (76 in 1992–93 tied with Alexander Mogilny)
- NHL calendar month record for most goals (20 in March 1993)
- 10-time All-Star
- 2006-07 Stanley Cup with Anaheim Ducks
- Calder Trophy: 1993
What can you say about Nicklas Lidstrom?
Nicklas Lidstrom will go down in history as one of the greatest defensemen ever to play in the NHL.
His overall play has made him one of the greats and fan favorites amongst the Detroit Red Wings. Nicklas Lidstrom's offensive and defensive skills make him a dual threat on the ice.
- Four-time Stanley Cup Winner (1997, 1998, 2002, 2008)
- 12-time All-Star (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011)
- Seven-time Norris Trophy winner (2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011)
- Conn Smythe Trophy winner (2002)
- Olympic gold medal winner (2006)
- 259 goals, 860 assists, 1119 points
Jaromír Jágr is arguably one of the greatest right wingers in NHL history. There is really no debate that Jágr can still keep up with the kids of this league despite being 39 years old.
Jágr has a very extensive resume that includes a Hart Trophy, two Stanley Cups, three Lester B. Pearson awards, and 1,614 career points and counting.
If Jágr can continue his current play, there is no reason why he can’t have another Jágresque season.
It was hard to pick a true No. 1 when choosing between so many talented players.
- Two-Time Stanley Cup Winner (1991, 1992)
- Hart Trophy (1999)
- Art Ross Trophy (1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001)
- Lester B. Pearson Award (1999, 2000, 2006)
- Eight-Time All-Star
- Most Consecutive 30-Goal Seasons (15) 1991-2007
- Most Consecutive 70-Point or more Seasons (15) 1991-2007
These power rankings took a look at some of the league’s living legends and all-stars. Did you disagree with my ordering? If so, leave a comment in the section below. We are all huge hockey fans and interpret and evaluate players differently.
Leave a comment in the section below to get the conversation going.
Tom Urtz Jr. is an NHL Featured Columnist. For more NHL free-agent news, updates and alerts about players: