The NHL appears to be in the middle of a full-fledged youth movement, thanks to an influx of talented rookies over the last few seasons.
Right now, the kids are all anyone can talk about. And if we’re being honest, some of the hype may be getting a little bit out of control: Auston Matthews was basically named to the all-star team after one game; Patrik Laine was awarded the Hart Trophy after four; Next week, the Hockey Hall of Fame will officially be renamed The Hall of Connor McDavid and Also Some Other Guys.
And all of that is great — a wave of dominant young players all coming into the league at the same time is one of the most exciting things that can happen in sports.
But while it’s a fun story to hype up, we run the risk of forgetting that there are still some older guys puttering around the league.
Some of them are even pretty good.
So today, let's hike our pants up to our armpits and spend some time celebrating the league's old guys. We'll build a full roster – four lines, three defensive pairings and two goalies – out of players that were 35 or older on opening night of the 2016-17 season.
And then we’ll teach those whippersnappers a thing or two.
RW: Jaromir Jagr
We'll start with the first guy that comes to mind when you mention old NHL players. At 43, Jagr hasn't shown many signs of slowing down; his 66 points last year were the second most among players 35 and over.
We'll give him a spot on the first line, and we'll also make him team captain. There's a non-zero chance he'll still be holding down that spot in sixteen years when we welcome McDavid and Matthews to this team.
C: Joe Thornton
Even at 37, Thornton continues to be among the top playmakers in the league.
Last year may have been his best season in almost a decade, as he posted a combined 103 points across the regular season and playoffs.
We've all agreed that he's a no-questions-asked, first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, right? He'll probably become the 13th player to join the 1,000-assist club this season, and players ahead of him are basically a who's who of NHL legends.
LW: Patrick Marleau
We'll slot him in at wing instead of centre, since that's where he tends to play these days and it lets us build a top line that features three 1,000-point players.
We'll give him first-line duties because of his chemistry with Thornton – they don't play together much, but the familiarity of being teammates for so many years should help them gel.
(Yes, I realize I've thought too much about this. You've read this far, don't bail on me now.)