December 21 2016 12:03PM
Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin - USA TODAY Sports
A testament to his health and productivity, Vancouver Canucks captain Henrik Sedin will reach a significant milestone on Thursday night when he steps onto the ice against the Winnipeg Jets at Rogers Arena.
Sedin will become the 107th player in National Hockey League history to reach 1200 career regular season games. He’ll join Owen Nolan at that mark and within weeks surpass Erik Nesterenko and move into the top-100 on the all-time games played list when he dresses for his 1219th contest early in the new year.
Henrik, who is now eight points shy of reaching 1000 points in his remarkable career, currently sits 55th in all-time scoring and is 32nd on the NHL’s all-time assist list with 763. With 48 games left on the Canucks schedule, the 36-year-old has the chance to move into a tie with Sergei Fedorov and Bill Gadsby for 86th on the all-time games played list if he stays healthy the rest of this season. With a year beyond this one remaining on his contract, Henrik could climb as high as 53rd on the list at 1330 should he play every game between now and the end of next season.
Taking things a step further, if Henrik chooses to play a season after the current contract, he’d have the chance to reach 1412 games which would put him just shy of Al MacInnis who currently sits 32nd on the list at 1416. If that scenario played out, Henrik would eclipse the 1382 NHL games played Canucks President of Hockey Operations Trevor Linden. Linden is currently 42nd in NHL history in terms of all-time games played.
Now, some of those are moving targets because Henrik trails the likes of Jaromir Jagr (1662), Jarome Iginla (1505), Shane Doan (1498), Patrick Marleau (1444), Joe Thornton (1400), Matt Cullen (1327), Zdeno Chara (1303) and Marian Hossa (1270) who are all still active and working their way up the same list.
It’s interesting to note that Henrik Sedin will become just the ninth member of the 1200 club to wear only one team’s uniform and somewhat surprising -- if not shocking -- that he’ll be just the third after Montreal’s Henri Richard and Calgary’s Jarome Iginla to reach 1200 with a Canadian franchise. One must point out that Jarome Iginla played the first 1219 games of his career with the Flames before moving on to Pittsburgh, Boston and now Colorado. So Iginla made it to the 1200 mark with Calgary, but having made other stops in his NHL career, he leaves the Pocket Rocket and Henrik Sedin as the only players in the storied history of the NHL to reach 1200 and spend their entire careers with one Canadian franchise. Daniel will join that elite company when he reaches the 1200 mark 24 games from now.
To put the careers of the Sedins in perspective, in nearly 50 years of the franchise’s existence just eight players have dressed for 700 games in Canucks colours and only five have played more than 800: the Sedins are two of them along with Linden (1140), Stan Smyl (896) and Markus Naslund (884).
At 1200 NHL games, Henrik on his own will have nearly matched the 1234 amassed by the players taken first, fourth, fifth and sixth in his 1999 draft year. Patrik Stefan appeared in 455, Pavel Brendl just 78, Tim Connolly 697 and Brian Finley only four. It’s hard to fathom what the past 16 years might have looked like had the 1999 draft yielded a different result.
When milestones like this arise, it’s easy to forget all of the other high-level hockey Henrik Sedin has played since he made his NHL debut on October 5, 2000, in Philadelphia. In addition to the 1199 regular season games he logged, he’s played 105 Stanley Cup playoff games, 12 Olympic contests, 12 World Championship games and eight World Cup games.
Detractors will point to the one glaring omission from the Sedins trophy case, and it’s true that they have not been able to get their hands on the Stanley Cup. They don’t shy away from that. But Thursday night at Rogers Arena isn’t about 2011 and where things went wrong. It’s the latest chance to celebrate all that Henrik Sedin has done for the Vancouver Canucks franchise over his decade and a half in this city. And it’s an opportunity to salute a player for reaching a significant mark very few in NHL history have matched.