Going into tonight’s game, Patrick Marleau is 19th on the list of NHL players by games played with 1,499. He’s tied with Mike Modano, so tonight will move him to 18th.
The other players he’ll pass this year, if he continues to play every game as he has since he hit thirty, are:
- Steve Yzerman
- Brendan Shanahan
- Shane Doan
- Johnny Bucyk
- Alex Delvecchio
- Jarome Iginla (assuming he doesn’t play)
- Niklas Lidstrom
He’ll end the year 11th all time, and one more full season will put him fifth all time, just behind Ron Francis (this assumes, as is likely, that Jaromir Jagr will move into fourth place all time.)
Which brings up an interesting point, again assuming Iginla is retired permanently from the NHL, Marleau is second in active players to the amazing Jagr who sits at 1,714 games. Marleau’s old pal Joe Thornton is third at 1,451, Matt Cullen has 1,370 and Zdeno Chara has 1,355. No one else has hit 1,300, although the Sedins likely will this season.
Marleau passes Shanahan at game 1,525, and I’d love the Leafs to recognize that game, not tonight’s.
When you move from games to goals, the list stretches out. Longevity isn’t the only trick to getting a good career goal total (having a birthdate in the 1960s helps). Marleau is 41st on the all-time list. Which is pretty damn good. He’s third in active players, which is better. But at 511 goals he is well behind the number two in active players, Alex Ovechkin, with 567. Number one is, you guessed it, Jagr, with 765. Marleau needs a better than 30-goal season to get into the top 30 all-time by the end of this year, so that’s a steeper hill to climb.
Marleau is also third in points for active players (and well down the list and out of the top 50 all-time), but this time, it’s Thornton who’s between him and Jagr. The gap is large too. Jagr’s uncatchable 1,915 points is followed by Thornton’s 1,394, with Marleau well back at 1,087. Meanwhile, that youngster Ovechkin is fourth with 1,045.
Speaking of Shanahan. One thing really stands out in his stat line from a great career. He had 155 more goals than Marleau does so far, but he also had over 2,000 more penalty minutes. Yes, two-thousand. The game’s changed a lot in the ten years that separates their births.
Happy, 1,500th game, Patrick Marleau, may you have many more games scoring many more goals, and if the hockey gods will it, some silverware too.
Goal number one for the Maple Leafs in game number one for the new team: