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Players of the Decade

(I'm jumping around a bit here, from leading teams to leading players. I'm writing about what springs to mind, so I can't guarantee consistency from day-to-day...)

When you choose arbitrary start and end dates for a particular statistic, you can often get interesting results. Looking at the total number of games played since 1999-2000, we get a very interesting group:

Brunette 762
Jokinen 758
Prospal 754
Lidstrom 751
Doan 750
Marleau 750
Skoula 746
O'Donnell 745
Langkow 745
Recchi 741
Iginla 741

This is through a few days ago, so the most games anyone could have played is around 770 - there have been no modern-day Doug Jarvises. Essentially, to make this list, you had to be an established player ten years ago and you still have to be one today. So only players over 28 need apply. You'd think a guy like Recchi - born in 1968 - wouldn't be in the hunt for the top of the chart, but he is.

What about goals?

This time the list is pretty straight-forward:

Iginla 364
Hossa 329
Kovalchuk 315
Hejduk 310
Jagr 301
Lecavalier 297
Naslund 296
Alfredsson 286
Heatley 281
Selanne 280

I think if you posed this as a trivia question, people would be vastly more likely to know the leaders than they would for the games played list. As for assists, the leader is not exactly a surprise:

Thornton 585
Lidstrom 457
Alfredsson 455
Gomez 442
Jagr 436
Savard 433
Sakic 412
Richards 407
Tanguay 400
Recchi 398

If Joe Thornton went scoreless for two full seasons, he'd probably still lead this list. Thornton takes a lot of flak for his teams' playoff performances, but he has simply been an amazing offensive talent. If he's still playing when he's 38 or 39, we'll be talking about him closing in or Esposito and Jagr's career points totals. Putting it all together:

Thornton 838
Iginla 751
Alfredsson 741
Jagr 737
Hossa 698
Lecavalier 670
Sakic 662
Naslund 658
Kovalev 638
Sundin 634

I don't think I was quite aware of the level of Thornton's dominance before. But scoring is clearly one department where the best players excel - Jagr, Sakic, Naslund and Sundin were such huge talents that they could miss several years out of the last decade and still rank ahead of big scorers like Martin St. Louis or Patrick Elias.

Next time: we'll get a bit more obscure...