Few NHL stars play past 40

"We pulled a fast one, didn't we?" (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Ilya Kovalchuk contract rejection is all over the hockey blogosphere today (because really, it's the only thing going on). Behind The Net did a good comparison to other recent "lifetime" contracts and you can see why this one goes further past the boundaries of the other ones. In my last post, I noted a study from Quant Hockey that showed 0.02% of players played at 44, and here's another breakdown worth looking at: a list of notable star players that retired since 2007.

It's a pretty simple list below, but you can see the names are a mix of Hall of Famers, strong first-line players, and gritty warriors. Some of them could have kept going, some just weren't offered a contract, and some of them simply couldn't handle the physical demands anymore after years of NHL hockey.


Player Age Year
Scott Niedermayer 36 2010
Rob Blake 40 2010
Rod Brind'amour 39 2010
Keith Tkachuk 38 2010
Darryl Sydor 38 2010
Brendan Shanahan 40 2009
Joe Sakic 40 2009
Mats Sundin 38 2009
Michael Peca 35 2009
Markus Naslund 35 2009
Gary Roberts 43 2009
Jeremy Roenick 39 2009
Trevor Linden 38 2008
Glen Wesley 39 2008
Mattias Norstrom 36 2008
Stu Barnes 36 2008
Dallas Drake 39 2008
Peter Bondra 39 2007
John LeClair 38 2007
Joe Nieuwendyk 40 2007
Pierre Turgeon 37 2007


Four guys retired at 40: Rob Blake, Brendan Shanahan. Joe Sakic, and Joe Nieuwendyk. Only Gary Roberts played past then; everyone else on the list was under 40.

42 (the age of Marian Hossa's contract) is really, really stretching it but still barely within the slight realm of reality. 44 (the final year of Kovalchuk's contract) really isn't. There's pushing boundaries, and then there's taking a Mega Man-style leap over the line.

And just because I'm going to force my nerd-ness on everyone, this is the greatest speech in cinema history about drawing the line:

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