Who are the Oldest and Youngest NHL Players? | LeoVegas

Oldest and Youngest NHL Players

It’s not uncommon for the best, hardiest NHL players to continue to compete well into their 30s, which, given the sheer speed, physicality, and dangerous nature of the sport, makes these veterans all the more impressive. In equal measure, coming straight out of the draft as a teenager and being able to go shoulder-to-shoulder with seasoned professionals is also awe-inspiring.

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The two players who bookend the all-time age bracket of the NHL are the legendary Gordie Howe, who played beyond his 52nd birthday, and Armand “Bep” Guidolin, who was thrust into the league at the age of 16. These are NHL players who rank as the oldest for the 2023/24 season and the youngest of all time.

Oldest NHL Players

While we’ll likely never see an NHL star go to the grand old age of 52-years and still compete in the league as Gordie Howe once did, there are plenty of players who completed this season in what many would consider to be beyond the standard twilight playing years.

Mark Giordano (40 years, 89 days) - Toronto Maple Leafs

Playing in his 19th season, Mark Giordano ranked as the oldest player in the NHL this past season. For the Toronto Maple Leafs, who were regular favourites in the hockey betting throughout the regular season, the veteran defenseman played 46 games and missed the playoffs – which ended in Round 1 for the Buds again.

Joe Pavelski (39 years, 173 days) - Dallas Stars

American right wing Joe Pavelski just completed his fifth season with the Dallas Stars and, for the third season running, played all 82 regular season games. With a strong return of 27 goals and 67 points, the Stars would happily have him back at the age of 40, but he says he’ll likely hang up his skates this summer.

Marc-André Fleury (39 years, 34 days) - Minnesota Wild

A three time Stanley Cup-winning goaltender with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Marc-André Fleury continues to validate his unique first-overall selection in the 2003 NHL Draft. Last season, he started another 36 games for the Minnesota Wild, held a 17-15-5 record, and crucially offered invaluable mentorship to the team’s young netminders. Last season, Fleury became the fourth goalie to play in 1,000 games and will play in his 21st campaign next season.

Jeff Carter (39 years) - Pittsburgh Penguins

The long-time LA King continues to battle in the NHL. With the veteran haven that is the Pittsburgh Penguins, Jeff Carter put up 15 points in 72 games and announced his retirement at the end of the campaign.

Ryan Suter (38 years, 344 days) - Dallas Stars

A key part of one of the most daunting defences in the NHL, Ryan Suter played his third consecutive season of 82 games for the Dallas Stars in 2023/24 and has another year with a no-movement clause left on his current deal.

Pierre-Édouard Bellemare (38 years, 300 days) - Seattle Kraken

Skating for the youngest team in the league, Pierre-Édouard Bellemare clocks in as one of the oldest NHL players of last season. The French center has now played for five teams in his ten-season career, putting up seven points in 40 games for the Seattle Kraken in 2023/24.

Brent Burns (38 years, 297 days) - Carolina Hurricanes

Legendary beast at the blue line Brent Burns shifted from the spiralling San Jose Sharks to the Carolina Hurricanes for a shot at the Stanley Cup two seasons ago. Since then, the towering defenseman has played every game, put up 104 regular season points, and continued scoring in both playoff runs.

Alex Goligoski (38 years, 154 days) - Minnesota Wild

One of the oldest skaters in the NHL has continued to skate in front of the oldest goaltender in the NHL, with Alex Goligoski still commanding a blue line pairing for the Minnesota Wild. However, his 2023/24 36-game, ten-point season looks to be the American’s last in the NHL.

Corey Perry (38 years, 229 days) – Edmonton Oilers

The oldest player in this season’s Stanley Cup Finals, Corey Perry began the campaign with the Chicago Blackhawks but was picked up for his experience and determination by the playoffs-bound Edmonton Oilers. Perry wasn’t a major points contributor in the postseason, but did help to build the depth necessary to keep the Oilers in with a chance in the Stanley Cup odds.

Alex Ovechkin (38 years, 105 days) - Washington Capitals

Alex Ovechkin, ‘The Great 8,’ continues to fight his way up the all-time scoring charts with an eye on one of Wayne Gretzky’s few beatable records. With another 31 goals and 65 points in 79 games of 2023/24, the sharpshooter is now 41 goals behind The Great One’s record. Having already won the Stanley Cup and the Conn Smythe Trophy – which he was favoured in the odds to land that season – even if the Washington Capitals fall out of postseason contention in 2024/25, Ovechkin would likely remain to keep hunting down that record.

Youngest NHL Players Ever

With the way that the NHL Entry Draft works, there is a floor to how old players can be when they debut in the league. By now, the league has been running for over a century, and certainly played in an age when player safety wasn’t so well upheld or understood. As you’ll see with some of the youngest NHLers of all time, some also played through necessity, due to World War II taking away regular starters.

Armand “Bep” Guidolin (16 years) - Boston Bruins

At 16-years-old and standing 5’8’’, circumstance made “Bep” Guidolin a desirable pick for the NHL lines of the Boston Bruins. With so many players away due to World War II, the youngster commenced his rookie season aged 16 years and 11 months in November 1942.

Ted “Teeder” Kennedy (17 years) - Toronto Maple Leafs

“Teeder” Kennedy got his NHL call-up at the age of 17 in 1943, hitting the ground running and going on to be the joint-first player in the league’s history to win five Stanley Cups. Named to the 100 Greatest NHL Players list in 2017, Kennedy is far better known for the accomplishments of his 15-year career rather than his age on debut.

Don Raleigh (17 years) - New York Rangers

Another of the NHL’s youngest-ever players who debuted in the early 1940s, Don Raleigh was nicknamed “Bones'' because of his incredibly slight frame. Playing for the New York Rangers throughout his time in the NHL, Raliegh would become the first to score four goals in one game for the team and be the first in the league to net back-to-back overtime winners in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Ross Johnstone (17 years) - Toronto Maple Leafs

Brought into the team as a left-shot defenseman in the 1943/44 season, Ross Johnstone’s run in the NHL didn’t last long. In a career that started as a 17-year-old with the Toronto Maple Leafs, he’d conclude his career with just 42 games and nine points in the NHL across two seasons. His name is on the Stanley Cup, though.

Don Gallinger (17 years) - Boston Bruins

A feature of the so-called “Sprout Line” in the 1940s, Don Gallinger joined the youngest NHL player of all time, Bep Guidolin, and Bill Shill in Boston Bruins jerseys, having entered the league as a 17-year-old. The center would go on to play 222 games and score 65 goals and 153 points for the Bs, but his NHL career was hampered by a betting scandal.


Who was the oldest NHL player?

Gordie Howe stands as the oldest NHL player to ever skate onto the ice. Born in 1980, he was 52 years and 11 days old in his final NHL game, which was for the Hartford Whalers in his 83rd game of the 1979/80 season. He scored 15 goals and 41 points in the regular season and two points in three games of the playoffs.

What age did Wayne Gretzky retire?

Wayne Gretzky was 38-years-old when he concluded his 20th season in the NHL, and he still managed to put up nine goals and 62 points in the 70 games of his final campaign with the New York Rangers in 1998/99.

What is considered old for an NHL player?

A man’s athletic prime tends to fall into the bracket of between 26 and 30-years-old for most sports, including hockey. With that in mind and the average age of retirement being in the early 30s, any NHLer who’s 35-years-old or older is considered to be an old player.

Who was the youngest player ever in the NHL?

The youngest player ever in the NHL was Bep Guidolin. He debuted at the age of 16 for the Boston Bruins in 1942, being given a shot in the NHL because the Bruins’ roster was depleted by the call of duty during World War II.

Who had the longest career in the NHL?

Chris Chelios and Gordie Howe tie the record for the most number of seasons played in the NHL, thus marking the longest NHL careers. Both skaters boast 26 separate seasons of play in the NHL, marginally beating Mark Messier’s count of 25 seasons.

Who had the shortest NHL career?

Greg Koehler holds the unenviable record for the shortest NHL career. The former Carolina Hurricanes center came off of the bench, skated for four seconds, and never touched the puck. That was the extent of Koehler’s on-ice action in the NHL.

Who is the youngest NHL rookie ever?

Armand “Bep” Guidolin stands as the youngest NHL rookie ever, coming into the league at 16-years-old. Any player partaking in their first season in the league who’s below the age of 26 is considered to be a rookie.

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