Last night Nicklas Lidstrom scored the game-winning goal in overtime as the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Calgary Flames. Lidstrom is 40 years old. The NHL is widely considered to be a young man’s game these days, so we thought we would take this opportunity to check in with “The 40 Plus Club” and see how they’re doing this year.
It takes a special kind of player to remain in the NHL once the big “four-oh” comes around. These players have a special combination of talent, desire and conditioning that allows them to play the game at the highest level years after their contemporaries have hung up their skates.
We talked about Lidstrom off the top. The captain of the Detroit Red Wings currently has three goals and 17 assists in 18 games with the Wings. Last season he had 49 points in 82 games, so is it possible that Lidstrom is becoming better with age?
He still plays an average of over 24 minutes a night, so it doesn’t look like there’s a slow down in sight for Lidstrom.
The Islanders’ captain has nine points in 18 games. The Islanders are currently struggling, but that point total is good enough to place him in a tie for fifth on the team in points. John Tavares, who was born in the same year that Weight was drafted, is only two points ahead of Weight with 11.
The Finnish Flash has eight goals and 22 points in 22 games. He currently leads the over 40 club in points and is only a point behind Corey Perry on the Anaheim Ducks. Selanne is having a strong season, but whether or not he stays healthy will determine how well he does in what may be his final year in the NHL. He hasn’t played more than 65 games a year in his previous three seasons and is currently listed as day-to-day with a sore groin.
It still seems weird to see Modano suiting up for a team not named some variation of the word “Stars.” Modano started his Red Wings career slowly, but has been on a bit of a roll recently. He has seven points in 18 games, but he went through a five game scoring streak where he scored a point a game.
Recchi, 42, is the elder statesman of the NHL. He was born in 1968, which makes him older than many NHL teams. His NHL career has been almost four years longer than Tyler Seguin’s life.
Recchi’s scored 13 points in 18 games and even got into a scrap just over a week ago.
Out of the current NHL youngsters, will any of them still be lacing it up (and dropping the gloves) at 40?