Friday, July 12, 2019

Pre-Lockout NHL Players

Panthers goalie and future Hall of Famer Roberto Luongo announced his retirement last month. Penguins center Matt Cullen announced his retirement earlier this week. Brooks Orpik also retired this summer, leaving just 21 active players who suited up before the NHL lockout of 2004-05. I thought it would be fun to list those players and briefly describe their status fifteen years after the league's "lost season".

Here's the full list, starting with players who made their debut in the 2003-04 season and going back to the 1997-98 rookie class. (Age in parentheses as of July 31.)

Patrice Bergeron(34) Bruins stalwart had perhaps his best season in 2018-19, scoring 79 points in 65 regular-season games and 17 points in the playoffs. Signed thru 2022. 

Dustin Brown(34) Career King looked finished three years ago but has turned it around in the past two seasons, scoring 20+ goals for the first time since '11-12. Signed thru 2022.

Brent Burns(34) Sharks superstar finished second in Norris trophy voting in 2018-19 after leading all NHL defensemen in points with a career-best 83. Signed thru 2025(!)

Trevor Daley(35) Red Wings defenseman played in his 1,000th NHL game in '18-19. Won back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Penguins in 2016 and 2017. Signed thru 2020.

Marc-Andre Fleury(34) Golden Knights great has played in five Stanley Cup Finals (four with Pittsburgh). Started more games in ’18-19 than he had in the prior three years. Signed thru 2022.

Dan Hamhuis(36) Stay-at-home defenseman had his worst season in ’18-19. Started his career in Nashville and might end it there, too. Signed thru 2020. 

Ryan Kesler(34) Ducks forward played in his 1,000th NHL game at the end of 2018-19. Only managed 8 points in 60 total games. Signed through 2022.

Niklas Kronwall(38) Career Red Wing is unsigned and undecided about his NHL future. Still a solid performer on the blueline, averaging just under 20 minutes/game in '18-19.

Chris Kunitz(39) Unsigned winger played with the Blackhawks in 2018-19, scoring 10 points in 56 games. This might be the end for the four-time Stanley Cup champion's career.

Jason Pominville(36) Longtime Sabres winger played in one game before the 2004-05 lockout. Returned to Buffalo in 2017 after four-plus seasons in Minnesota. Unsigned at the moment.

Eric Staal(34) Former Hurricanes star resurrected his career after signing with the Wild in 2016. Scored 42 goals in '17-18 but only 22 in '18-19. Signed thru 2021. 

Craig Anderson(38) Veteran netminder has spent the past eight-plus seasons in Ottawa. Had his worst year as a starter in '18-19 behind a subpar Senators squad. Signed thru 2020.

Jay Bouwmeester(35) Third overall pick in 2002 missed the playoffs in each of his first nine NHL seasons. Now has his name on the Stanley Cup as a member of the Blues. Signed thru 2020.

Ron Hainsey(38) Played in 81 games (including the 1,000th of his career) for the Maple Leafs in '18-19. Led the Leafs with a +30 rating. Signed a one-year contract with the Senators for 2019-20.

Ryan Miller(39) Longtime Sabres star has more wins (378) than any American-born goalie in NHL history. Now serving as John Gibson's backup in Anaheim. Signed thru 2020.

Jason Spezza(36) Second overall pick in 2002 was a point-a-game player with the Senators. Managed just 27 points for the Stars in 2018-19. Signed a league-minimum deal to play for the Maple Leafs in '19-20.

Ilya Kovalchuk(36) Returned to the NHL in 2018 after playing five years in Russia. Wasn't nearly as productive with the Kings as he was in Atlanta and New Jersey. Signed thru 2021.

Justin Williams(37) Mr. Game Seven served as Carolina's captain in '18-19, finishing third on the Canes with 53 points. His biggest contribution might have been the Storm Surge celebrations.

Williams is unsigned for 2019-20 and undecided about continuing his career.

Zdeno Chara(42) Bruins captain scored just 14 points in 2018-19, his lowest total since 2000-01. Still a strong presence on the blueline. I thought he might retire had the B's won the Cup this past spring. Signed thru 2020. 

Patrick Marleau(39) Fifth all-time in career games played. Played in all 82 games for Toronto in '18-19. Traded to the Hurricanes in a cost-cutting move, then bought out by Carolina. Unsigned at the moment.

Joe Thornton(40) First overall pick in 1997. Still a productive point producer. Scored his 400th career goal last season and tallied 51 total points. Unsigned at the moment. 

I can understand that some of these players want to take their time deciding where (or if) they want to play this season, but I'm a little surprised that Marleau is still a free agent. I'm also surprised that Anaheim chose to buy out Corey Perry instead of Ryan Kesler. 

I'll be in Connecticut visiting my mom this weekend (no card show scheduled, unfortunately) but I'll try to catch up on all of your blogs Sunday night. 

Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend!



  1. Great post Chris. Brent Burns looks so different now! I hope all the unsigned guys come back...I'm still holding out hope Jagr comes back too.

  2. Damn... I feel old. Didn't realize that Luongo retired. I remember hoarding his rookie cards back in the day. I'm hoping the Sharks find a way to sign both Thornton and Marleau for the upcoming season. It'd be awesome to see them wrap up their careers in San Jose.

  3. I forgot Miller was still kicking around. He was a favorite when he played in Buffalo.

  4. What a cool idea for a post!