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The Stanley Cup isn’t the only way to define a great player

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Chris Chelios, Blackhawks (Credit: Elsa Hasch /Allsport)
Chris Chelios, Blackhawks (Credit: Elsa Hasch /Allsport) /
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Winning the Stanley Cup is pretty much the ultimate goal for every player that aims at playing in the NHL.

The Stanley Cup is the prize of the world’s premier hockey league, but there have been incredible players that never have the chance to lift the cup. However, is having a name engraved on the Stanley Cup the only thing that defines the best of the best in the NHL?

There’s another way to evaluate the greatest talents in the league. It’s not goals, points, penalties, or any of these things.

It’s the number of games played. When you look at the players that comprise the list of 1,000 games played (or more) it is truly a who’s who of the NHL. The Chicago Blackhawks have seen some of their all-time best players make that list.

Some players only maybe played only a single season with Chicago, but the list is pretty impressive just the same.

Chris Chelios 1651 games

Phil Housley 1495 games (played 2 seasons with Chicago)

Doug Gilmour 1474 games (played 2 seasons with Chicago)

Paul Coffey 1409 games (played 1 season with Chicago)

Stan Mikita 1394 games (all with Chicago)

Doug Mohns 1384 games

Jeremy Roenick 1363 games

Marian Hossa 1309 games

Phil Esposito 1282 games

Bill Gadsby 1248 games

Allan Stanley 1244 games (played 2 seasons with Chicago)

Steve Thomas 1235 games

Sean O’Donnell 1224 games (played 1 season with Chicago)

Eric Nesterenko 1219 games (all with Chicago)

Denis Savard 1196 games

Marc Bergevin 1191 games

Tony Amonte  1174 games

Sylvain Cote 1171 games (played 1 season with Chicago)

Eric Weinrich 1157 games

Gary Suter 1145 games

Bryan McCabe 1135 (played 1 season with Chicago)

Bernie Nicholls 1127 (played 2 seasons with Chicago)

Brad Richards 1126 (played 1 season with Chicago, but the Blackhawks won the Cup 2014-2015)

Brent Sutter 1111 games

Andrew Brunette 1110 games (played 1 season with Chicago)

Adrian Aucoin 1108 games

Kimmo Timonen (played the part of 1 season, but won the Cup 2014-2015)

Dave Manson 1103 games

Pit Martin 1101games

Tom Fitzgerald 1097 games (played 1 season with Chicago)

Michel Goulet 1089 games

Theoren Fleury 1084 (played 1 season with Chicago)

Brian Campbell 1082 games

Brent Seabrook 1082 games (Still an active player)

Peter Bondra 1081 games (played 1 season with Chicago)

Duncan Keith 1077 games (Still an active player)

Murray Craven 1071 games

Ted Lindsay1068 games

Bobby Hull 1063 games

Radim Vrbata 1057 games (played 2 seasons with Chicago)

Lyle Odelein 1056 games (played 2 seasons with Chicago)

Bryan Smolinski 1056 games (played 1 season with Chicago)

Ivan Boldirev 1052 games

Antoine Vermette 1046 (played 1 season with Chicago, but won the Cup 2014-2015)

Stephane Quintal 1037 (played 1 season with Chicago)

Ralph Backstrom 1032 games (played 1 season with Chicago)

Eddie Olczyk 1031 games

John Tonelli 1028 games (played part of one season with Chicago)

Doug Wilson 1024 games

Chris Kunitz 1022 games (played 1 season with Chicago)

Keith Carney 1018 games

Phil Russell 1016 games

Trevor Daley 1015 games (Still an active player, played 1 season with Chicago)

Steve Sullivan 1011 games

Dave Christian 1009 games (played 2 seasons with Chicago)

Michal Handzus 1009 games

Bob Murray 1008 games (all with Chicago)

Todd Gill 1007 games (played 1 season with Chicago)

Steve Larmer 1006 games

Jonathon Toews and Patrick Kane will probably both make this list next season, but notably absent are goalies. Both Corey Crawford and Ed Belfour have played for more than ten years. Crawford is still playing, but since goalies don’t play all 82 games/season it’s pretty difficult for them to make the 1000 games list. They should be on there anyway.

Longevity matters in the NHL, and the list of players that were able to stay in the league year after year after year is a much smaller list than all of the Stanley Cup Winners.

Players that have proven themselves talented enough to merit a spot in the NHL every year of their career, regardless of whether or not there is a trophy for it is a mark of quality.

Related Story. The missing ingredient for this Blackhawks team may already be there. light

The Blackhawks have had some incredible players pass through their ranks, and with the draft just around the corner, hopefully, the team will be able to add another enduring talent.

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