By the Numbers: Marleau's record-breaking career
San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau will replace Mr. Hockey Gordie Howe in a fraternity that includes Pete Rose (MLB), Robert Parish (NBA), Lui Passaglia (CFL) and Morten Andersen (NFL), when he plays his 1,768th NHL game on Monday, giving him sole possession of first all-time.
Marleau made his NHL debut during the 1997-98 season with the Sharks and is one of three active players to have appeared in a games dating back to the 90s, a four-decade run.
The 41-year-old played in 196 games during that decade, joining former Sharks teammate Joe Thornton (173 GP) and Zdeno Chara (119 GP).
Howe will remain one step ahead of Marleau on the decades played chart as he broke in with the Detroit Red Wings in 1947-48 and appeared in five different decades before skating in his final game on April 6, 1980.
The Sharks played their franchise first game on October 4, 1991 against the Vancouver Canucks and have had 2,262 regular season contests.
Marleau has appeared in 1,595 of those games, giving him the highest percentage (70.5 per cent) of appearances in an NHL franchise’s history, among clubs that have at least 1,000 GP.
He has also played in 98.1 per cent of Sharks games when he’s been part of the roster (1,595 of 1,626).
Thornton is Marleau’s closest active challenger on the all-time games played list, as he has skated in 1,669 regular-season contests, good enough for sixth.
Between them are Howe, Mark Messier (1,756), Jaromir Jagr (1,733) and Ron Francis (1,731).
As far as active players are concerned, the top five is rounded out by Chara (1,598), Eric Staal (1,280) and Dustin Brown (1,223).
Marleau is also in prime position to grab another mantle, as he has appeared in 898 consecutive games, giving him the second most among active players.
Florida Panthers defenceman Keith Yandle is the current active ironman with 911 straight games played.
Saskatchewan can also boast that the NHL’s two all-time games played leaders are both natives of the province. Marleau was born in Aneroid and Howe is a native of Floral.