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Stunning numbers: Patrick Marleau NHL record edition

Patrick Marleau reflects on preparing to break Gordie Howe's all-time NHL games played record (1,768) and credits his family for his success and longevity.

On Monday night against the Golden Knights, Sharks forward Patrick Marleau played in his 1,768th regular season game, breaking the NHL record that had been held by Gordie Howe. That is a stunning number all its own. So let us take a look at some more stunning numbers from Marleau’s career.

• It is not just the fact that Marleau has played in a record number of regular season games. He has also appeared in 195 Stanley Cup playoff games, a mark that places him among the top-25 in NHL history. Add that total to his regular season total and he has appeared in 1,963 NHL games. Assuming he plays in all of the remaining Sharks games this season that would put him well over the 1,970 mark.

• Marleau has played in that number of games over a 23-year career that goes all the way back to the 1997-98 season. His career touched four different decades (1990s, 2000s, 2010s, 2020s). That takes an enormous amount of dedication, durability, and luck. He has appeared in every game in 12 of his 23 seasons.

[Related: A remarkable talent: Marleau to break NHL games played record]

• He has appeared in at least 80 games 16 times. He has never missed more than six games in a season in his entire NHL career. Had it not been for the 2004-05 lockout and three shortened seasons (2019-20, 2020-21, as well as the 2012-13) his games played total would be even higher. We could be talking another 140-150 regular season games on his total games played.

• This might be the most stunning number of Marleau’s career.

When you play that many games over 23 seasons you are going to have a lot of teammates and play against a lot of players. According to the NHL, there have been 8,102 players that have appeared in at least one NHL game. Via @sharksstats, Marleau has played against 3,009 players as an opponent and been a teammate with 335 players. That comes out to more than 38% of the players in league history that Marleau has played in a game with either as an opponent or a teammate.

• Marleau has skated in 70.5% of all Sharks games in franchise history. That is the highest percentage of any player for any team in league history (minimum 1,000 games for the team in franchise history). Marleau has appeared in 98.5% of the Sharks games in which he has been a member of the active roster. (Via NHL PR)

• Just to bring all of this full circle: In Marleau’s rookie he was teammates with Bernie Nicholls in San Jose. In Nicholls’ rookie season he was teammates with Jim Rutherford. In Rutherford’s rookie season he was teammates with Gordie Howe.

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In Howe’s rookie season he was teammates with Roy Conacher (1941). In Conacher’s rookie season he was teammates with Eddie Shore. Shore was teammates with Harry Meeking in his rookie season. Meeking’s career began in 1917, the very first year of the NHL. Yes, you can trace Patrick Marleau’s career today back to the start of the NHL in a chain of just six players.

• He is one of just 43 players in league history with at least 500 goals and 1,000 career points. He is also 14th on the NHL all-time postseason goals list and 50th in playoff points.

• When Marleau entered the NHL and made his debut the league had 26 teams. It now has 31, with a 32nd team entering next season. His career pre-dates the Nashville Predators, Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets, Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild, and Columbus Blue Jackets.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.