The NHL is a business first and a professional sport second. Hockey players train their entire lives to make it to the best league in the world and work even harder to stay. Everyone dreams of hoisting the Stanley Cup at some point in their career, while others play their entire careers with one organization and never get that chance. Few in league history have played their whole careers with one organization because trades and free agency have altered the landscape since their inception. The NHL is about to launch its 106th season, marking the second season with 32 teams. After a wild offseason with superstars relocating, here is the list of longest-tenured players who remain with their current teams.
*Please note that in the event of a tie, the nod goes to the player with the most games played with that franchise.
Seattle Kraken – Adam Larsson (Oct. 12, 2021)
The Seattle Kraken is the NHL’s latest expansion team, debuting for the 2021-22 season. The franchise went through the usual process, hosting an Expansion Draft, participating in the Entry Draft, and signing free agents. Everyone on the current roster started at zero games; however, only Adam Larsson managed to play all 82 games for the Kraken in their inaugural season. As of right now, he will go down as the longest-tenured player based on games played.
Vegas Golden Knights – Jonathan Marchessault (Oct. 6, 2018)
The Vegas Golden Knights joined the NHL in 2018, with every player making debuts on the same night. Jonathan Marchessault gets the nod here as the team’s longest-tenured player because he has played the most games in franchise history, 356, which is six more than William Karlsson, who has 350. Marchessault is also Vegas’ all-time leading scorer with 291 points.
Ottawa Senators – Thomas Chabot (Oct. 18, 2016)
The Ottawa Senators are in a youth movement, leaving Thomas Chabot (25 years old) as one of the veterans on the team. The former 18th-overall pick (2015) joined the Senators in 2016-17 as a 20-year-old. In 313 games, he’s collected 188 points and has served as an alternate captain since 2019-20.
Arizona Coyotes – Lawson Crouse (Oct. 15, 2016)
The Arizona Coyotes are the 18th-youngest team in the league, with an average age of 27.22. Their longest-tenured player is Jacob Chychrun, who is 24. He made his debut as an 18-year-old on Oct. 15, 2016, and has been with the team since. The 16th-overall pick in the 2016 Entry Draft has 142 points in 337 games.
Detroit Red Wings – Dylan Larkin (Oct. 9, 2015)
Dylan Larkin was the Detroit Red Wings’ first-round pick (15th overall) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. He debuted at 19, finishing fifth in Calder Trophy voting. Since then, he’s gone on to play in 504 games and collect 358 points. He is a two-time 30-goal scorer and has been team captain since 2020-21.
Vancouver Canucks – Bo Horvat (Nov. 4, 2014)
Henrik and Daniel Sedin spent 18 years as the face of the Vancouver Canucks. Bo Horvat remains one of a few players who had the honor of serving with two of the best the franchise ever had. Drafted ninth overall in 2013, Horvat debuted as a 19-year-old and has 572 games on his resume after eight seasons. He has been the captain of the team since 2019-20.
New Jersey Devils – Damon Severson (Oct. 9, 2014)
Damon Severson is the longest-tenured New Jersey Devil, joining the team in 2014-15. He has played 566 games and scored 230 points as a second-round pick. The only eye-popping statistic on his hockey card, and not in a good way, is his career minus-129 rating after eight seasons.
Toronto Maple Leafs – Morgan Rielly (Oct. 5, 2013)
Morgan Reilly was a first-round draft pick (fifth overall) in 2012, making his debut a season later as a 19-year-old. In nine seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, he’s been part of some great moments (Auston Matthews scoring 60 goals) and some rather disappointing ones (failing to advance past the first round). Reilly has yet to win any awards but has 373 points in 654 games.
Columbus Blue Jackets – Boone Jenner (Oct. 4, 2013)
Bonne Jenner is a second-round pick who has seen action in 589 games during his nine-year career. He has 144 goals and 140 assists for 284 points. In their history, the Columbus Blue Jackets have made the playoffs six times, and Jenner has been there for five of them. He was named team captain in 2021-22.
Florida Panthers – Aleksander Barkov (Oct. 3, 2013)
Former franchise star Jonathan Huberdeau was once the Florida Panthers’ longest-tenured player until a trade in 2022 sent him to Calgary. That transaction opened a spot at the top of the list, to which Aleksander Barkov ascended. A former second-overall pick (2013), Barkov made his NHL debut as an 18-year-old and has earned a Lady Byng (2019) and Selke Trophy (2021). He’s scored at least 20 goals in seven of his nine seasons, bringing his point total to 553 in 596 games. Barkov has also been team captain in Florida since 2018-19.
Buffalo Sabres – Zemgus Girgensons (Oct. 2, 2013)
The Buffalo Sabres have been in an endless rebuild for over a decade. Star players have gone, and the high drafts have piled up. Zemgus Girgensons has been there for it all. Despite how young the team is today, he has been there for eight seasons, appearing in 545 games. So far, the center has just 156 points, with his best season coming in 2014-15 (30 points).
St. Louis Blues – Vladimir Tarasenko (Jan. 19, 2013)
Vladimir Tarasenko is a regular 30-goal scorer, reaching the mark in six of his 10 seasons. The two-time All-Star won a Stanley Cup title in 2019 with St. Louis and scored 40 goals once in 2015-16. In 2021-22 he set a career-high with 82 points, bringing his career total to 524 in 606 games.
New York Rangers – Chris Kreider (Jan. 19, 2013)
Chris Kreider was a late first-round draft pick in 2009 who didn’t make his NHL debut until 2012-13 as a 21-year-old. For years he hovered around the 20-goal mark before exploding for 52 goals in 2021-22. It was his best season as a professional, whose team came within a few wins shy of the Stanley Cup Final. In 654 games, he has 229 goals and 423 points.
Carolina Hurricanes – Jordan Staal (Jan. 19, 2013)
Jordan Staal began his career in 2006-07 as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, winning the Stanley Cup in 2009. In 2012, he found his way to the Carolina Hurricanes, where he’s been ever since. Named team captain in 2019-20, he’s scored 225 points over 661 games in Raleigh.
Nashville Predators – Mattias Ekholm (Oct. 11, 2011)
Mattias Ekholm made his NHL debut in 2011 but did not become a regular player for the Nashville Predators until 2013-14. He may not have any awards on his resume, but he was a vital part of the Predators team who lost in the 2017 Stanley Cup Final. Ekholm has been an alternate captain since 2017-18, suiting for 662 games and collecting 250 points.
Edmonton Oilers – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Oct. 9, 2011)
The Edmonton Oilers had a run of first overall picks (2010, 2011, 2012, and 2015), with only Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2011) and Connor McDavid (2015) still on the team. Nugent-Hopkins cracked the lineup as an 18-year-old and hasn’t left. Serving as an alternate captain from 2015-16, he has scored 528 points in 719 games.
Winnipeg Jets – Mark Scheifele (Oct. 9, 2011)
Mark Scheifele is another first-round selection (2011) who still plays with the team that drafted him. He took the long road to becoming an NHL regular, playing just 11 games through his first two years before officially making the Jets’ lineup as a 20-year-old. In 642 games, Scheifele has scored 577 points.
Colorado Avalanche – Gabriel Landeskog (Oct. 8, 2011)
Gabriel Landeskog was destined for great things when the Colorado Avalanche selected him second overall in 2011. He won the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year and was named team captain during his second season. In 2022, he became the second Swedish player to lead his team to a Stanley Cup Championship. After 11 seasons, he has 571 points in 738 games.
Philadelphia Flyers – Sean Couturier (Oct. 6, 2011)
Sean Couturier made his debut two seasons after the Philadelphia Flyers lost in the 2010 Stanley Cup Final. The stars from that team were slowly departing, leaving room for him to become the face of the next generation of stars. The former Selke Trophy winner (2019-20) has 460 points in 721 games.
Minnesota Wild – Jared Spurgeon (Nov. 29, 2010)
Jared Spurgeon has played 772 games as a member of the Minnesota Wild, which is quite an achievement for a player selected in the sixth round of the 2008 Entry Draft. Currently, the defenceman has 99 goals and 345 points, which places him sixth all-time in Wild history.
Anaheim Ducks – Cam Fowler (Oct. 8, 2009)
After the 2021-22 season, long-time captain Ryan Getzlaf hung up his skates. Cam Fowler moved up a notch when the former Stanley Cup champion departed and became the Anaheim Ducks’ longest-tenured player. The former first-round pick (2010) is a veteran of 811 games and has 366 points from the blue line.
Dallas Stars – Jamie Benn (Oct. 3, 2009)
Jamie Benn was a fifth-round pick who made his NHL debut in 2009-10. He is a former Art Ross winner (2014-15) and a three-time all-star. He has been captain of the Stars since 2013-14 and sits third all-time in franchise points with 769.
New York Islanders – Josh Bailey (Nov. 11, 2008)
Josh Bailey was a first-round pick (ninth overall) in 2008. He made his NHL debut as a 19-year-old and is about to play in his 1,000th game (993). He doesn’t have any awards so far in his career but has collected 555 points and has served as an alternate captain since 2018-19.
Tampa Bay Lightning – Steven Stamkos (Oct. 4, 2008)
Steven Stamkos became a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning after being selected first overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Since stepping onto the ice as an 18-year-old, he’s been busy scoring goals with 481 in 922 games. One of the few players to achieve 60 goals in a season, it took him 12 seasons to finally captain his team to a Stanley Cup Championship, winning back-to-back titles in 2020 and 2021.
Calgary Flames – Mikael Backlund (Jan. 8, 2008)
In June 2014, Brad Treliving became the general manager of the Calgary Flames. Since that summer, everyone on the 2013-14 roster has found a new home, leaving Mikael Backlund as the lone exception. Sean Monahan was the second longest-tenured player, but after an August 2022 trade, Backlund remains the only player left from the previous management team. As a front runner for the vacant captaincy role with the club, he is getting closer to Jarome Iginla’s most games played record (1,219) with 826.
Montreal Canadiens – Carey Price (Oct. 10, 2007)
Carey Price has been defending the goal for the Montreal Canadiens for the last 17 seasons. He has a Vezina, a Hart, and a William M. Jennings trophy on his mantle. The only thing missing from his Hall of Fame career is a Stanley Cup title. He’s ranked as one of the best netminders for over a decade; however, injuries may have him sidelined right now. However, as long as he stays under contract, he is the team’s longest-tenured player.
Chicago Blackhawks – Patrick Kane (Oct. 4, 2007)
The Blackhawks were lucky to build a nucleus around Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews (who debuted six days later) to win three Stanley Cup titles in 2010, 2013, and 2015. Drafted in 2007, Kane has won a league MVP, a scoring title, and a playoff MVP award. In 1,107 career games, he has scored 1,180 points and is considered one of the greatest hockey players born in the United States.
Los Angeles Kings – Anže Kopitar (Oct. 6, 2006)
For many years Dustin Brown was the captain of the Los Angeles Kings, but the team’s offense flowed through Anže Kopitar. The two-time Stanley Cup champion has 1,067 points, fourth all-time in the Kings’ record book, 240 behind Marcel Dionne for the top spot. If the 35-year-old stays healthy, he could pass Brown’s 1,296 games played record within two seasons.
San Jose Sharks – Marc-Édouard Vlasic (Oct. 5, 2006)
Once upon a time, the San Jose Sharks employed Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton, two of the longest-tenured players in the NHL. However, Marc-Édouard Vlasic steps into the role as the longest Sharks player on the current roster. Drafted in the second round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, he is a veteran of 1,161 games and 346 points. His best season came in 2015-16, when he collected 39 points.
Washington Capitals – Alex Ovechkin (Oct. 5, 2005)
Alex Ovechkin has been terrorizing goalies in the NHL since 2005. Entering the 2022-23 season, he sits at 780 goals, needing an additional 114 to surpass Wayne Gretzky’s 894 goal record. Even though Ovechkin is 36, there’s no slowing down the Great 8’s quest for greatness. No matter how many goals the nine-time Maurice Ricard Trophy winner scores, he’ll go down as one of the NHL’s best goal scorers ever.
Pittsburgh Penguins – Sidney Crosby (Oct. 5, 2005)
In 17 years with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby has won three Stanley Cups, two scoring titles, two league MVPs, and collected over 1,400 points and 500 goals. He is the team’s all-time leader in games played, 1,108, becoming the first player in club history to suit up for over 1,000. When Crosby retires, he will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Boston Bruins – Patrice Bergeron (Oct. 8, 2003)
Patrice Bergeron will go down in history as one of the best second-round draft picks of all time. He joined the Boston Bruins as an 18-year-old in 2003 and has gone on to set an NHL record with five Selke Trophy wins for being the league’s best defensive forward. On top of scoring the Stanley Cup-clinching goal in 2011, Bergeron has won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy and the Mark Messier Leadership Award. After 18 seasons in the spoked B, he ranks among the franchise’s best players in most statistical categories. He has also been the team captain since 2020-21 and is just 18 points shy of 1,000 for his career.
Out of the 32 players on this list, only 14 have been with their current teams for less than 10 seasons. With player transactions more common in the past 50 years, 18 players have defied the odds and stayed with the same franchise for over a decade. Most of these players are first-round draft picks, meaning franchises have built their cores around elite prospects who are now veterans and team captains.
Ryan Gagne is back for his second tour of duty with The Hockey Writers. In 2021 he wrote about the New York Islanders and now will embrace the challenge of covering the Calgary Flames. The best part of this new assignment is Ryan currently lives in Edmonton and will get to see both sides of the Battle of Alberta up close and personal. None of this will make much sense since he was born and raised in New England and the Boston Bruins are his still team.