Oldest Active NHL Players

10 Oldest Active NHL Players (Updated 2020)

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The average age of the NHL’s current players is 27.1 years. While this is a little old, by sports’ standards, all of the players on this list have far surpassed this number. Everyone on this list is about a decade or more older than the average NHL player and has played for about two decades. The three oldest players on this list were drafted in the late 1990s and are all in their early 40s.

As of March 2020, this list is as accurate as possible and will be updated as needed.

10. Jason Spezza (June 13, 1983 – Present)

Current Age (as of March 2020): 36 years, 8 months, 22 days
Current Team:  Toronto Maple Leafs
Draft Year:  2001
Playing Career:  2002 – Present
Position:  Center

Jason Spezzaphoto source: Wikimedia Commons via mark6mauno

Jason Spezza of Canada, has been playing professionally since 2002, but has played hockey since he was a kid. After playing in the major junior league for a few years, Spezza signed his first professional contract with the Ottawa Senators. For the first few years of his professional career Spezza was assigned to the Senators’ AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins. Spezza played his first full season in the NHL in 2004-05. He has also played for the Dallas Stars and is currently with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Did You Know?

When Jason Spezza made his World Junior debut in 2000, he became just the third 16-year-old in history to make the Canadian team, behind Wayne Gretzky and Eric Lindros.


9. Ilya Kovalchuk (April 15, 1983 – Present)

Current Age (as of March 2020): 36 years, 10 months, 20 days
Current Team:  Los Angeles Kings
Draft Year:  2001
Playing Career:  1999 – Present
Position:  Left wing

Ilya Kovalchukphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Russian-born Ilya Kovalchuk grew up playing in the youth system of Spartak Moscow, joining their senior team in the Vysshaya Liga in 1999. After two seasons with Spartak, Kovalchuk joined the NHL in 2001 when he was drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers. Kovalchuk spent nearly a decade with the Thrashers before being traded to the New Jersey Devils in 2010.

As a result of the 2012–13 NHL lockout, Kovalchuk temporarily left the NHL to play for SKA Saint Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). Kovalchuk returned to the NHL in 2018 with the Los Angeles Kings. In January 2020, Kovalchuk signed a contract with the Montreal Canadiens, but was traded a month later to the Washington Capitals in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.

Did You Know?

One of the most notable things about Ilya Kovalchuk’s career is the illegal 17-year, $102 million deal he signed with the New Jersey Devils in 2010. The length of the deal broke the record for the longest contract in NHL history, but it was nullified by National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA)’s for violating the NHL’s strict salary cap.


8. Mikko Koivu (March 12, 1983 – Present)

Current Age (as of March 2020): 36 years, 11 months, 24 days
Current Team:  Minnesota Wild
Draft Year:  2001
Playing Career:  2000 – Present
Position:  Center

Mikko Koivuphoto source: Wikimedia Commons via Resolute

Mikko Koivu, who is originally from Finland, is the current captain of the Minnesota Wild. Koivu has spent his entire NHL career with the Wild. Before joining the NHL in 2001, Koivu played TPS of the SM-liiga as a 17-year old. Despite being drafted in 2001, Koivu did not move to the United States until 2004. While the 2004-05 NHL season was canceled, Koivu played for Minnesota’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Houston Aeros.

Did You Know?

On October 20, 2009, Mikko Koivu became the first permanent captain in Minnesota Wild history and he signed a then-franchise-record seven-year, $47 million contract extension, that went into effect during the 2011-12 season.


7. Andy Greene (October 30, 1982 – Present)

Current Age (as of March 2020): 37 years, 4 months, 6 days
Current Team:  New Jersey Devils
Draft Year:  Undrafted
Playing Career:  2006 – Present
Position:  Defense

Andy Greenephoto source: Flickr via mark6mauno

Andy Greene, who is just a few days shy of his 37th birthday at the time of this writing, hasn’t necessarily had an impressive career like some of the other players on this list. Greene has been the captain of the New Jersey Devils since 2015. He was first signed to the team as an undrafted free agent in 2006.

Did You Know?

During the 2017-18 NHL season, Andy Greene injured his hand, which broke his streak of 350 consecutive NHL games played. Greene has the third-longest streak in the New Jersey Devils history, just behind Travis Zajac and Ken Daneyko.


6. Henrik Lundqvist (March 2, 1982 – Present)

Current Age (as of March 2020): 38 years, 3 days
Current Team:  New York Rangers
Draft Year:  2000
Playing Career:  2001 – Present
Position:  Goaltender

Henrik Lundqvistphoto source: Wikimedia Commons via Lisa Gansky

Henrik Lundqvist, who was born in Sweden, is one of the best goalies in NHL history. Along with his twin brother, Joel, Lundqvist grew up playing hockey, although alpine skiing was the most popular sport in the area. Before joining the New York Rangers and the NHL in 2000, Lundqvist played for Frölunda HC in Swedish Elitserien. Lundqvist immediately made a name for himself in the NHL and was dubbed “King Henrik” by Rangers fans.

Did You Know?

Henrik Lundqvist is the only goaltender in NHL history to record 11 30-win seasons in his first 12 seasons.


5. Justin Williams (October 4, 1981 – Present)

Current Age (as of March 2020): 38 years, 5 months, 1 day
Current Team:  Carolina Hurricanes
Draft Year:  2000
Playing Career:  2000 – Present (did not play in 2019)
Position:  Right Wing

Justin Williamsphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Justin Williams was left off of this list during the last time it was updated because he was an undrafted free agent during the 2019 off-season. Williams even stated that he was going to retire at the end of the year. However, in January 2020, Williams once again returned to the Carolina Hurricanes after signing a one-year, $700,000 contract.

Williams has played in the NHL for 19 years for the Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, and Washington Capitals. Over his career, Williams has won the Stanley Cup three times, once with the Hurricanes and twice with the Kings.

Did You Know?

Justin Williams has played nine Game 7 playoff games in his NHL career and holds the record for most Game 7 points at 15, which has earned him the nickname “Mr. Game 7.”


4. Ron Hainsey (March 24, 1981 – Present)

Current Age (as of March 2020): 38 years, 11 months, 12 days
Current Team:  Ottawa Senators
Draft Year:  2000
Playing Career:  2001 – Present
Position:  Defense

Ron Hainseyphoto source: Wikimedia Commons via Benjamin Reed

While Ron Hainsey is one of the oldest active players in the NHL, he is not necessarily notable. Hainsey began his professional career in 2000 when he was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens. After that, Hainsey bounced around the league and played for several teams, including: Columbus Blue Jackets, Atlanta Thrashers, Winnipeg Jets, Carolina Hurricanes, Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Hainsey currently plays for the Ottawa Senators.

Did You Know?

Ron Hainsey played professional hockey for nearly 16 years (907 games) before playing on a team that made the playoffs, longer than any other player in league history.


3. Patrick Marleau (September 15, 1979 – Present)

Current Age (as of March 2020): 40 years, 168 days
Current Team:  Pittsburgh Penguins
Draft Year:  1997
Playing Career:  1997 – Present
Position:  Left wing/Center

Patrick Marleauphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Patrick Marleau is just a few months younger than former San Jose Sharks teammate, Joe Thornton, making him the third oldest active NHL player. Marleau spent a few years in the junior hockey league before being drafted in 1997 by the San Jose Sharks. With the exception of two seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs from 2017-19, Marleau has always played for the Sharks. However, in February 2020, Marleau was traded by Sharks to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a conditional 2021 third-round pick.

Since Marleau has spent the majority of his career with the Sharks, he holds many franchise records, including: all-time Sharks leader in goals, even strength goals, power play goals, points, shots, and games played.

Did You Know?

Patrick Marleau currently holds the distinction of playing the most NHL games (both regular season and playoffs) without winning the Stanley Cup.


2. Joe Thornton (July 2, 1979 – Present)

Current Age (as of March 2020): 40 years, 243 days
Current Team:  San Jose Sharks
Draft Year:  1997
Playing Career:  1997 – Present
Position:  Center and alternate captain

Joe Thorntonphoto source: Sidmeister78 at English Wikipedia

Joe Thornton is currently the second oldest player in the NHL at 40 years of age. Thornton has been playing hockey his entire life and was part of the Ontario Minor Hockey Association as a young teenager. The top line center began his NHL career with the Boston Bruins in 1997. Thornton played with the Bruins for seven seasons (three as its captain), before being traded to the San Jose Sharks in 2005.

Did You Know?

Joe Thornton is the only player in NHL history to win the Art Ross Trophy and Hart Memorial Trophy while switching clubs in his winning campaign (2005-06).


1. Zdeno Chára (March 18, 1977- Present)

Current Age (as of March 2020): 42 years, 349 days
Current Team:  Boston Bruins
Draft Year:  1996
Playing Career:  1997 – Present
Position:  Defense

Zdeno Charaphoto source: Wikimedia Commons via Lisa Gansky

At nearly 43 years of age, Zdeno Chára is the oldest active player in the NHL. Chára hails from Slovakia and was drafted into the NHL in 1996 by the New York Islanders. After spending a few years with the Islanders, Chára was picked up by the Ottawa Senators. Chára became an unrestricted free agent at the end of 2005–06 season and has been playing for the Boston Bruins since then.

Did You Know?

Zdeno Chára is so tall at 6 ft 9 in (206 cm) – he is the tallest NHL player ever – that he has to use sticks two inches longer than NHL regulations, and receives permission from the NHL to do so.


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