Nine NHLers most likely to spend entire career with one team

It’s rare for a player to stay with one team for an entire career, but Shane Doan has done just that. He played his rookie season with the Winnipeg Jets in 1995-96 before the franchise moved to Phoenix, where his impact is still tremendous.

Arizona Coyotes captain Shane Doan officially announced his retirement from the NHL on Wednesday.

He leaves a legacy of leadership, sportsmanship and loyalty at the rink, having played all 21 of his NHL seasons with the same organization — a rarity in today’s NHL as cap concerns, Cup-chasing and rebuilds often result in a player donning a new sweater.

That got us thinking about which current players might fall into the one-team category, along with Doan. Here’s a look at nine stars whose loyalty could see them play out the rest of their careers with a single franchise.

Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks

36 years old | 1,225 (Daniel) & 1,248 (Henrik) games in 16 seasons
370 G, 616 A, 986 Pts (Daniel) & 237 G, 783 A, 1,020 Pts (Henrik)

Despite coming off a down year, the Sedin twins have been consistently excellent since being drafted second and third overall in 1999, and they’ve each got one year remaining on their matching four-year, $28-million deals they signed in 2013, which include no-movement clauses.

While the question remains whether they wish to continue their careers beyond 2017-18, especially considering the Canucks’ status as a young, rebuilding team, they’ve made it pretty clear that Vancouver is their only hockey home.

“We’ve never really been in this position before, but we’re up there now, age-wise,” Daniel said back in April. “For us, it’s all about if the team is going in the right direction and if you see there’s a place for us on the team. If we’re healthy and if management wants us to be a part of the future, we can see ourselves playing more years but for us, it’s Vancouver or nothing. We’re not going to go anywhere else to play.”

Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens

30 years old | 509 games in 10 seasons
270-175-55, 2.40 GAA, .920 SV%, 39 SO

The Canadiens made Price the NHL’s highest-paid goalie when they signed him to a massive eight-year, $84-million extension earlier this off-season. The contract, complete with a no-movement clause, kicks in at the start of 2018-19 and takes him right through to 2026 when he’ll be nearing 40 — and maybe retirement.

“I never thought about playing anywhere else,” Price said upon signing. “It’s a great place for me. I never thought about putting on another uniform. I just thought it would be too weird, I guess.

“There’s no better place to play hockey. I’m honoured to be able to wear a Canadiens uniform for the rest of my career. This is all I’ve ever known and it’s all I ever will know, I hope.”

Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers

35 years old | 742 games in 12 seasons
405-249-76, 2.32 GAA, .920 SV%, 61 SO

King Henrik signed a seven-year, $59.5-million contract in 2013, making him a Ranger through the end of the 2020-21 campaign. Lundqvist’s stats, style (how ’bout those pads?), and star power make him a fan favourite on a team whose Cup-winning window is now. That window of opportunity gets more narrow as Lundqvist gets older, though, so the pressure is on for Lundqvist & Co. to strike now so he can truly retire as a king in New York.

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Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings

36 years old | 1,000 games in 14 seasons
326 G, 578 A, 904 Pts

Zetterberg has four more years to go on his 12-year deal with Detroit, but recently told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that he’s not likely to play until the end of it.

“The only reason why we wrote such a long contract was because of the payroll,” Zetterberg said, according to a translation from the Detroit News. “It is quite obvious that you try to fool the system. Actually, I may have two years left, but I have also learned to take one year at a time. But I will probably not play until then.”

The 36-year-old won the Stanley Cup in 2008, and unless he wants to hunt down another with someone else, he’ll join some legendary Red Wings as Detroit lifers upon his NHL retirement.

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

30 years old | 782 games in 12 seasons
382 G, 645 A, 1,027 Pts

Crosby has won just about everything there is to win over the course of his pro career as a Penguin, and he’s taking aim at a three-peat as we speak.

The Kid signed a 12-year, $104.4-million contract back in 2012, which keeps him in Pittsburgh until the end of the 2024-25 season, when he’ll be 37, and it’s certainly hard to imagine the longtime Penguins captain playing for anyone but the magnificent Mario Lemieux — another lifelong Penguin.

Evgeni Malkin might also be a good candidate for this list, with five years left on his deal, but it remains a bit more of a mystery whether the 31-year-old (and his $9.5-million cap hit) will play out his career in black and gold.

Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning

27 years old | 586 games in nine seasons
321 G, 261 A, 582 Pts

Stamkos had his shot at free agency last year, but ultimately decided to stay home in Tampa Bay when he signed an eight-year deal in June 2016. He’ll be 34 when he reaches UFA status again, so it’s probably too early to call it (we see you, Leafs fans), though his 2016 decision — which left some money on the table — showed that loyalty to the Lightning runs deep with Stamkos.

Will we see a similar situation with John Tavares and the New York Islanders? (Hey again, Leafs fans.) We’ll find out soon whether the 2018 UFA will be a candidate for this list or not.

Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

31 years old | 921 games in 12 seasons
558 G, 477 A, 1,035 Pts

Though rumours flew earlier this off-season about his leadership and future with the team, it’s tough to imagine the Capitals trading away the face of the franchise. The Great Eight’s legacy in Washington wouldn’t be complete without a Stanley Cup — even Malkin is pulling for him. The longtime captain — not to mention the best player they’ve ever had — is under contract until 2020-21, so he hasn’t signed his final deal, but we’d bet on a role change (like we saw this past post-season) in Washington over a sweater change for Ovechkin.

Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers

20 years old | 127 games in two seasons
46 G, 102 A, 148 Pts

OK, we know. It’s too soon to tell. McDavid’s monstrous eight-year, $100-million deal kicks in next season and runs until 2025-26, when he’ll still just be 29 years old. But the fact that he opted for a maximum-term deal this year (as did Leon Draisaitl) means he’s pretty comfortable with where the Oilers are headed for a long time to come.

You can bet fans in Edmonton are counting on him staying true to his 2015 word:


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