Age, they say it is just number. However, for sports, age is everything. The most important thing about an athlete is their prime. When they are in their prime, they will be the best.
Players like Patrick Kane, 27, Jonathan Toews, 27, are two examples of players in their prime. For the Chicago Blackhawks, they are very lucky to have both players on their team at this age.
Nonetheless, as much as you would like to have a player in their prime, you would also want to get a veteran player. Someone who is seasoned. These are players that have possibly made it to a cup final or a deep run in the playoffs. These players can help teach the younger players how to react in certain situations.
Yet, taking over these days seems to be players who are playing into their late 30s, early 40s. When these players debuted in the early to mid-90s, you didn’t expect them to still be playing.
However, these players have seen it all. They played in the NHL when they could wrap their sticks around the opposing playing and glide down the ice, and now where if you have your stick parallel to the ice it’s hooking.
Every year we see one or two of they players retire. Last year it was Teemu Selänne at the young age of 44.
However, there are still players playing now into their late 30s early 40s, and seems like they found new life. So here is the list of the top 15 Oldest Players in the NHL Today.
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15 Brian Campbell
Brain Campbell is currently serving as the assistant captain for the Florida Panthers. The 36-year-old defenseman broke into the league in 1999-00 season. Playing for three different teams, and a Stanley Cup Champion in the 2009-10 season.
Campbell has been a solid player for the Panthers this season. As he is a plus-24.
The Panthers have been playing solid hockey all season, and Campbell is one of a few players from this team up in age.
Guess you can say the Panthers went for the seasoned vets this year.
14 Marian Hossa - 37 years, 3 months
Marian Hossa continues to be a solid contributor for the Blackhawks and he'd better be, because the Blackhawks still have him under contract through 2022 when he'll be 43. Hossa was drafted back in 1997 12th overall by the Ottawa Senators. He has played for the Thrashers, Penguins, Red Wings and has now been in Chicago for seven seasons.
Hossa is set to hit the illustrious 500 goal club and still seems to have some good years ahead of him.
13 Andrei Markov - 37 years, 4 months
Andrei Markov is one of the few on this list who has been with the same team his whole career. Markov was a late-round steal for the Canadiens back in 2000, going 162nd overall (6th round). While his age and knee injuries have slowed him down considerably in recent years, he still plays a vital role on the Habs' blue line.
Markov is signed with Montreal through 2016-17 and is set to earn $5.75 million. He'll be 38 by the time the end of that contract comes, meaning he could be on the last big pay day of his career.
12 Michal Rozsival - 37 years, 6 months
Michal Rozsival, 37, is a two-time Stanley Cup Champion with the Chicago Blackhawks.
The 37-year-old has played on three teams since breaking in the NHL in the 1999 season. He has been a solid defenseman, showing that he was a little better than a fourth round pick in 1996.
Rozsival has been everything the Hawks could have asked for at the blue line. It showed when he got injured in the playoffs Last season as they struggled to fill his spot.
Rozsival’s 1-year, $600,000 contract expires this season. With him up there in age, he could end up anywhere.
11 Pavel Datsyuk - 37 years, 8 months
The 37-year-old has proven all the teams that passed him up in 1998 that is was the wrong thing to do. Pavel Datsyuk was aa171st overall pick in the 1988 draft, and he’s put up numbers showing he should have been higher.
Datsyuk is a two-time Stanley Cup Champion who produces highlights at least once a game.
Working on his 13th season with the Detroit Red Wings, he has played in over 880 games. The only problem as of late, he has been injury prone. However, that is what happens when you get older.
Datsyuk was also a four-time participant in the Olympic Games, while being the captain in 2014.
10 Shawn Thornton - 38 years, 8 months
The 38-year-old Shaw Thornton is currently an enforcer for playing for the Florida Panthers. Another Thornton that left Boston.
Thornton has been playing in the league since 2002, playing for five different teams. This season is his second with the Panthers. In his career with the Panthers he has 2 goals and 6 assists.
In his NHL career he has 40 goals and 56 assists, pretty good numbers with suspensions in his career. In December 2013, Thornton assaulted Brooks Orpik, after Orpik hit Loui Eriksson. The attack was compared to one of the worst in NHL history, right up there with the Todd Bertuzzi incident.
9 Jarome Iginla - 38 years, 9 months
At 38 years old Jerome Iginla has had an amazing career in the NHL. Iginla spent the most part in his career in Calgary before being traded to Pittsburgh during the 2012-13 season.
He is another player who puts his heart and soul in every game he plays. After Pittsburgh, he played in Boston for a year, before signing with Colorado.
He is currently on his second season with the team where his numbers have been as good as they always been. There seems to be no slowing down for Iginla, who seems to look like he will be around for a few more years.
8 Willie Mitchell - 38 years old, 11 months
Another Florida Panther on the list. This one is 38 years old. Willie Mitchell, the original New Jersey Devils draft pick, broke into the league in 2000. He is currently on his sixth team.
The defenseman has been a decent player for the Panthers on the blue line. He has played in 46 games so far this season.
This is his second season with the Panthers and he is close to the same spot as he was last year. Mitchell currently serves as the captain of the Panthers. He becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of next year.
7 Zdeno Chara - 39 years old
This Slovak defenseman was drafted 56th overall in 1996 by the New York Islanders (sorry). However, he was traded in 2001 to the Ottawa Senators in return for Alexi Yashin.
Zdeno Chara, who just turned 39, and the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011. He is also a six time Norris Trophy finalist.
Standing in at 6-foot-9, he is one of the tallest players in the NHL right now. He is currently coming up to the end of his seven-year, $45.5 million contract.
For the Bruins, Chara, has become everything they could have asked for. Let’s not forget, he also holds the record for hardest shot in the league (108.8 mph).
6 Stephane Robidas - 39 years, 1 month
Another 39-year-old who is also spending time on the injured reserved list, he is still a current NHL defenseman playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The injury to Stepahne Robidas isn’t clear, however, he is making progress toward his return. Since breaking into the league, Robidas has played for five different teams, including the Dallas Stars twice.
The defenseman has been a pretty solid player for the teams he has played for as he has 57 goals and 201 assists. He has played in 52 games four the Leafs; there is no saying if this injury will cause a retirement.
5 Matt Cullen - 39 years, 5 months
Another 39-year-old on the list, apparently there are a lot of 39-year-olds still playing Hockey.
Matt Cullen, now playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins is having a season that the Penguins could be happy for.
The 39-year-old has played all season in Pittsburgh, proving his durability and has 13 goals and 13 assists. Since making his NHL debut in 1997 he has played on eight different teams, including the Hurricanes twice.
Last summer Cullen signed a one-year deal worth $800,000. The question is, do the Penguins take the chance in signing him again for next season at the age of 40?
4 Shane Doan - 39 years, 6 months
Shane Doan is 39 years old and is considered the heart and soul of the Arizona Coyotes. It's amazing how, at 39, he is the captain and the heart of the team.
If there is ever a player you want on your team, it is Doan. He is a player that never gives up on a play. He will play from puck drop to the final horn, no matter the score.
Doan was drafted in 1995 by the Winnipeg Jets, played on year with them and has been in Arizona since the move.
He becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of this year. He is a solid player that a team can sign to help their rookies.
3 Dan Boyle - 39 years, 8 months
Dan Boyle is currently a defenseman on the New York Rangers. Boyle is 39 years of age and coming up on the end of his contract this season.
He has found the fountain of youth as of late, but still shows his age at times the last few seasons. The Rangers picked Boyle up after he declined signing with the New York Islanders.
Boyle started his NHL career in 1998 where he played 22 games for the Panthers. He is a one-time Stanley Cup Champion with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
There is no saying where or if he will be playing next season. If this season is it, he's had a very successful NHL career.
2 Patrik Elias - 39 years, 11 months
Although the 39-year-old has only played 13 games this season, he is still technically an active player in the NHL.
Patrik Elias is a Czech winger who players for the New Jersey Devils. The winger suffered an injury on his right knee. He had surgery earlier this year and there is no timeframe for his return.
Elias hasn’t played since December 2015. In his short season he only has a goal and four assists. He has played his entire NHL career with the New Jersey Devils totaling 407 goals, 615 assists and 1,022 points.
With an injury like this, there is no saying he will return to the NHL. It's sad to see, given how productive he has been for the Devils since breaking in the league.
1 Jaromir Jagr - 44 years, 1 month
The ageless wonder. Jarmior Jagr is 44 years old and it seems like he is still in his prime. At the age of 44, he is putting up numbers the Florida Panthers were hoping for when they traded for him.
What is even crazier is that Jagr, at 44, hasn’t slowed down. He is now third on the scoring list behind Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier. Could you imagine the numbers he would have if he didn’t play in the KHL for three seasons?
There were rumors this would be his last year; yet, he came out saying he wants to play until he is 60! It would be nice to see, but logically, probably not.
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