Seeing Vincent Lecavalier’s contract being bought out by Moscow this afternoon made us think about the players in the league who are approaching the end of their careers. Lecavalier is 37, he’s only played 9 games over the last three seasons, and his body is slowing down rapidly. If he gets onto another team, it won’t be because he has blazing speed and deft hands.
Tim Thomas, who was drafted by Dublin in the third round of the initial EURO League draft, was playing for Copenhagen as a 41-year-old the season before he decided to hang up the trapper and blocker. Jaromir Jagr played until he was 40 before switching to the NHL and sunny Florida, where games and life are a little easier on his old body.
In Season 7, the EURO has a few old codgers still getting around the ice nicely, trying to keep up with youngsters like Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, but will any of them be the next 40-year-old EURO Leaguer?
Pavel Datsyuk has a shot. He’s already 39. The Russian has played 30 games this season for the Helsinki Jokerit, but his play has dropped off quite a bit since last year, when he was a plus 18 with 46 points. Datsyuk has just 9 points at this point in the season and he says he’s about 30 percent leaning toward retiring. In the past, players with lower “Retiring percentages” than that have called it a career. Patrick Eaves, for example, retired after Season 5 and he says he’s only 10 percent sure he’s retiring … right now.
Marian Hossa, 38, is still contributing, getting second line ice time with a good team in Lisbon. But his days of averaging a point a game like he did in Bratislava are over. Right now, he has 26 points in 48 games and his speed and strength ratings are diminished. He says he only thinks about retiring 7.5 percent of the time. Fellow 38-year-olds Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Andrei Markov, all say they feel closer to retiring than Hossa does, although they are all still seeing regular action with their teams.
Goalie Roberto Luongo, 38, has a good chance to be the league’s next 40-year-old. He is a bit fragile, but he’s played 21 games with Copenhagen this year. Compiling an 88.8 save percentage and he says he has no plans of quitting. Zero percent.
If no one makes it to 40 in the next four or five seasons, we know Henrik Lundquist will because Helsinki GM Trevor Grimm loves him and won’t let him leave town. Ever.