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The NHL seems to be a young man's league, but there's still some very productive veterans in the game today. That probably won't change.
So, this week's rankings will look at the oldest player on every roster. There are players at every position, including between the pipes.
Here's the list:
1 - Alex Ovechkin – W – Washington Capitals:
Too easy. Ovechkin is actually on pace to have the best statistical season of his entire career and he’s 36 years old. The Caps sniper currently has 25 goals and 28 assists in just 38 games, which is totally absurd. Whether or not he catches Wayne Gretzky’s record for career goals remains to be seen, but it doesn’t look like he’s planning on slowing down at all.
2 - Patrice Bergeron – C – Boston Bruins:
Bergeron is still one of the elite two-way players in the game. The 36-year-old has 11 goals and 30 points in 34 games for the Bruins and he has a ridiculous 64.81 CF% this season. It’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for him because he’s scheduled to become a UFA this summer. It’s hard to envision him playing anywhere else, but could he opt to retire? I hope not.
3 - Joe Pavelski – C – Dallas Stars:
This is Pavelski’s third year in Dallas and he seems to be getting better and better. He had 31 points in 67 games in his first year, 51 points in 56 games last year and he’s already at 15 goals and 36 points in 35 games in 2021-22. Not only is he the oldest player on the roster at 37 years old, he also leads them in scoring and he’s tied for first in goals.
4 - Alex Goligoski – D – Minnesota Wild:
Where did this offensive outburst come from? Goligoski moved from Arizona to Minnesota this season and it seems to have made all the difference. In 56 games with the Coyotes last year, he had three goals and 22 points in 56 games. This season, he’s already at two goals and 19 assists in only 29 games. He’s always been productive, but those are nice numbers for a 36-year-old.
5 - Jeff Carter – C – Pittsburgh Penguins:
Despite being the oldest player on the roster at 37 years old, Carter is third on the team in goals, with 11, behind Jake Guentzel (19) and Evan Rodrigues (15). He’s playing good minutes (18:49 per game) and he’s still a valuable piece of the puzzle for the Pens. Pittsburgh’s window is closing, but it’ll be interesting to see if they can get one more long playoff run out of this group.
6 - Ryan Getzlaf – C – Anaheim Ducks:
It appeared as though Getzlaf may have been willing to leave Anaheim last off-season, but he decided to come back and that has worked out for everyone. The Ducks have been better than expected and Getzlaf has been productive. The 36-year-old is still averaging more than 19 minutes of ice time per game and he has 24 points in 33 games, which is beyond respectable for a vet.
7 - Brent Burns – D – San Jose Sharks:
Burns has put up points for San Jose this year, as he has 26 in 39 games this season. The 36-year-old will turn 37 in March and the fact that he’s playing 26 minutes per game is impressive. His on-ice impact is all over the map, but given his age and production, his performance has been reasonable.
8 - Paul Stastny – C – Winnipeg Jets:
Stastny missed eight games earlier this year with a foot injury and he’s been on the covid-19 list for the last two games. When healthy, he’s actually been productive. The 36-year-old has eight goals and eight assists in 24 games this season. He’s 13 points away from matching his total from a year ago.
9 - Jakub Voracek – W – Columbus Blue Jackets:
Voracek is one of two players on the Blue Jackets roster over 30 years old (Gustav Nyquist is the other one). The veteran was acquired from Philadelphia for Cam Atkinson last off-season and he’s had a bit of a strange first year back in Columbus. The 32-year-old has a respectable 25 points in 34 games this season, but he’s found the back of the net just once.
10 - Jordan Staal – C – Carolina Hurricanes:
Staal had a bit of an offensive resurgence last year, but his numbers have come down a little bit. He currently has two goals and eight assists in 33 games, but he’s a valuable veteran on a very good Carolina team. The 33-year-old will become even more valuable for this young core at playoff time.
11 - Alec Martinez – D – Vegas Golden Knights:
Martinez gets the benefit of the doubt on reputation here because he hasn’t played much this year. He’s been out of the lineup since Nov. 13 with a facial injury and he hasn’t been back since. The 34-year-old has averaged 20 minutes of ice time per game in 11 contests this season. Getting him healthy is a big priority for the Golden Knights. Martinez was back on the ice last week, but he was quickly placed in Covid-19 protocol.
12 - Marc-Andre Fleury – G – Chicago Blackhawks:
Fleury was apprehensive about being traded from Vegas to Chicago, but he’s had a decent season. The Blackhawks, as a team, haven’t been good though. The 37-year-old hit the 500-win mark this season and he has a 13-11-2 record on the year. Don’t be surprised if he ends up being traded to a contender before the trade deadline.
13 - P.K. Subban – D – New Jersey Devils:
I’m kind of cheating here because Jonathan Bernier is the oldest player on the Devils roster, but he’s done for the year with a hip injury. Subban, now 32, is probably having his best year as a Devil. He has 14 points in 34 games while playing a shade under 20 minutes per game on average. It’ll be interesting to see what Subban does this off-season because he’s scheduled to become a UFA.
14 - Mark Giordano – D – Seattle Kraken:
The Kraken managed to snag this veteran from the Calgary Flames in the expansion draft. Giordano has four goals and 12 points in 31 games this year and he’s averaging over 21 minutes of ice time per game. Considering the lack of results on the ice from the entire team, the 38-year-old is having a reasonable season.
15 - Dustin Brown – W – Los Angeles Kings:
Brown clearly isn’t the same power forward he once was and that’s normal given his age (he’ll be 38 in November). He’s been with the Kings since the 2003-04 season and this could realistically be it for him with Los Angeles, as he’s scheduled to become a UFA at the end of the season.
16 - Jason Spezza – C – Toronto Maple Leafs:
Spezza doesn’t get much playing time for the Leafs, as he averages just 11:41 of ice time per game, but he’s still managed to chip in with some offense. The 38-year-old has seven goals and five assists in 32 games this season (three of those tallies have come on the man-advantage).
17 - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – C – Tampa Bay Lightning:
The Bolts have three 36-year-olds on their roster, as Bellemare is joined by Corey Perry and Brian Elliott, but he’s going to be 37 before the other two. He plays an important depth role on the roster and he’s chipped in 11 points in 39 games, which is more than respectable given all the other little things he does to help the team.
18 - Jaroslav Halak – G – Vancouver Canucks:
If you look at Halak’s traditional goalie stats this year, you won’t be impressed. He has a 1-4-2 record with a 2.59 goals-against-average and a .915 save percentage. Thatcher Demko plays a lot, so we haven’t seen the veteran much. But he’s 13th in the NHL with 4.91 goals-saved-above-average (Demko is third).
19 - Jeff Petry – D – Montreal Canadiens:
Carey Price is the oldest player on the roster, but he hasn’t played yet this season and it’s unclear if he’s going to suit up. Petry has been a valuable asset for this team for years, but he’s been awful in 2021-22. He scored his first goal of the season just last week and he continues to make mistake after mistake on the ice. It’ll be interesting to see if he sticks around for the rebuild that’s about to begin in Montreal.
20 - Jack Johnson – D – Colorado Avalanche:
Johnson has been the target of some heavy criticism for his lackluster play over the last few years, but he’s found a home aas a depth defender on a good Avs team. The 35-year-old has seven points and 28 penalty minutes in 31 games and he’s averaging 15:58 of ice time.
21 - Zdeno Chara – D – New York Islanders:
Chara will be 45 years old before the end of the regular season and his performances haven’t really been great. He has no goals, two assists and 57 penalty minutes in 27 games. The Isles schedule probably didn’t cater to a player of his age because they started the year on a 13-game road trip. It’s tough to come back from that. It looks like Chara’s playing days are coming to an end very soon.
22 - Thomas Greiss- G – Detroit Red Wings:
Greiss has served as the backup to Alex Nedeljkovic in Detroit this year. The 35-year-old has been okay, as he owns a 6-7-1 record with a 3.36 goals-against-average and a .894 save percentage in 2021-22. Of the 101 goalies that have suited up in the NHL this year, Greiss is 94th in goals-saved-above-average (minus-5.12), per Natural Stat Trick. That’s not good.
23 - Joe Thornton – C – Florida Panthers:
The former Hart Trophy winner is going to go down as one of the greatest passers in league history, but he’s clearly slowed down a lot. The 42-year-old has been a healthy scratch with the Panthers on multiple occasions and he has just four goals and two assists in 21 games this season.
24 - Tyler Bozak – C – St. Louis Blues:
Bozak helped the Blues win a Stanley Cup a few seasons ago, so it’s tough for anybody in St. Louis to get after him too much. He also doesn’t play that big of a role on this team now, as he averages a shade under 13 minutes of ice time. The 35-year-old one goal and six assists in 31 outings this season.
25 - Nick Holden – D – Ottawa Senators:
Holden is one of two 30-plus-year-olds on the roster right now. He’s played in 25 games and he’s managed to pick up three points and four penalty minutes during that stretch. His value will likely be measured off the ice more than it will be on the ice. He’s one of the important leaders on a really young team.
26 - Mark Borowiecki – D – Nashville Predators:
Borowiecki serves as a hard-nosed veteran defender for the Predators. He doesn’t chip in much offensively, as he only has two assists in 31 games. But he does stand up for teammates and he isn’t shy about sitting in the penalty box (he has 79 penalty minutes already).
27 - Craig Anderson – G – Buffalo Sabres:
Anderson announced his retirement before the Sabres came calling. The 40-year-old has been out since Nov. 2 with an upper-body injury and although he’s back skating, his return date is unclear. There’s no point in the rebuilding Sabres rushing him back. Anderson probably has a handful of NHL appearances left in his career.
28 - Mike Smith – G – Edmonton Oilers:
It’s tough to get a read on Smith’s season because he’s been limited to six appearances due to a leg injury. Between Smith and Mikko Koskinen, it’s pretty obvious that the Oilers need an upgrade between the pipes if they’re going to make a dent in the playoffs.
29 - Loui Eriksson – W – Arizona Coyotes:
Eriksson was acquired from Vancouver to make an off-season trade work from a financial standpoint. He has one of the worst contracts in the league, as it comes with a $6 million cap charge. The good news is that this contract is expiring after this season. The 36-year-old has one goal and five assists in 29 games this season.
30 - Brad Richardson – C – Calgary Flames:
The 36-year-old is a depth piece/extra forward on the Flames roster this season. He’s been a healthy scratch in three of the last four games and in his last game, he played just 5:26. Richardson has two goals and two assists in 22 games this season.
31 - Nate Thompson – C – Philadelphia Flyers:
Thompson is a good veteran presence, but he’s struggled at this level over the last few seasons. Not only does he have just one point in 19 games this year, he also has a CF% of 40.73. That’s less-than-ideal for a defensive forward.
32 - Ryan Reaves – W – New York Rangers:
The Rangers went out and got Reaves because they were criticized for not being tough enough. Well, Reaves is toughness has been on display this year and the Rangers have won a lot of games. Is that a coincidence? Yeah, it is. Reaves will turn 35 this week and he’s managed to accumulate six assists and 22 penalty minutes in 32 games.