Who are the oldest NHL players in 2023? The new generation of hockey players is making their mark, but the veterans will always have a place.
There is just one NHL player over the age of 40 playing in the NHL during the 2023-2024 season. Despite the average retirement age being 28-30, there are also numerous NHL players still playing the game into their late 30s.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the five oldest active NHL players in 2023 and the type of impact they are making for their respective clubs.
Here are the five oldest active NHL players in 2023:
5. Jeff Carter, Pittsburgh Penguins
Born on January 1st, 1985, Jeff Carter of the Pittsburgh Penguins is the fifth-oldest NHL player in 2023. Carter has suited up for numerous teams throughout his NHL career, but he’s currently playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins. During the 2022-23 campaign, Carter appeared in 66 games, scoring 11 goals and 15 assists for 26 total points. He also contributed with 75 hits and 49 blocked shots.
Carter was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers 11th overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. He was included in a blockbuster trade in 2011 that saw the star forward get moved to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Jakub Voracek, a first-round draft pick, and a third-round draft pick. Philadelphia made this trade primarily to clear up salary cap space, but there was rumblings that Carter’s off-ice behavior was negatively impacting the team.
Since the blockbuster trade, Carter has spent time with three different teams: the Blue Jackets, the Los Angeles Kings, and now, the Penguins. Carter’s best years came in LA, where he helped the Kings win two Stanley Cups in 2012 and 2014. Carter’s Cup-winning goal in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the New Jersey Devils will never be forgotten. While Carter is no longer posting the numbers he once did, he’s still among the most respected NHL players with 431 career goals and 836 points in 1,215 career games.
4. Marc-Andre Fleury, Minnesota Wild
Marc-Andre Fleury is 38 years old and officially the oldest active NHL goalie following Craig Anderson’s retirement. Born November 28th, 1984, in Quebec, Canada, Fleury is not only one of the oldest NHL players but one of the most accomplished and beloved goaltenders in NHL history. The veteran netminder is currently tending twine for the Minnesota Wild, where he continues to be a master of his craft. In 46 games during the 2022-23 season, Fleury has posted a 45-24-16 record with a .908 save percentage and 2.85 GAA, to go with two shutouts.
Fleury is a true example of a top NHL prospect actually living up to the hype. “The Flower” was drafted first overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft and rewarded the franchise for picking him over a top forward or defenseman. Fleury spent 13 seasons with the Penguins, helping lead the team to three Stanley Cups in 2009, 2016, and 2017. After a sensational career in Pittsburgh, the Vegas Golden Knights selected Fleury in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft.
It surprisingly took until Fleury’s 15th NHL season for the esteemed goalie to be nominated for the Vezina Trophy. In his first season with Vegas in 2020-21, Fleury won the prestigious award as the NHL’s top goalie. To the shock of many, Vegas traded Fleury to the Chicago Blackhawks the following summer. During that season, the Blackhawks parted with Fleury in a trade with Minnesota. Although he has been jumping around in the later years of his career, Fleury’s career accolades speak for themselves.
3. Zach Parise, Unrestricted Free Agent
Born July 28th, 1984, Zach Parise is just a few weeks short of being the oldest active NHL forward. Parise is currently 38 years of age and last played for the New York Islanders in 2022-23. Surprisingly, Parise, who became a UFA at the end of that season, did not attend the Isles’ training camp despite stating it was “New York or retirement”. While Zach hasn’t hung up the skates, it appears he may be having second thoughts about returning to Long Island in 2023-24.
Unlike the player who follows him on this list, Parise is a smaller player who was still drafted in the first round despite his size. The New Jersey Devils drafted Parise 17th overall in the 2003 NHL Draft. The undersized forward spent seven seasons with the Devils, where he strung together four consecutive 30-plus-goal seasons. Parise reached the Stanley Cup Final with the Devils in 2009, but the team fell short against the LA Kings. Parise eventually signed a massive 13-year, $98 million contract with his hometown Minnesota Wild in the summer of 2012.
Parise’s last few years in the NHL have been compelling ones. While Parise scored at least 20 goals five different times in his first eight seasons with the Wild, there was a consensus that the veteran wasn’t living up to his contract. The Wild eventually bought out the remainder of that contract, and Parise went on to join the Islanders as a free agent in September of 2021. The Minnesota native is still finding ways to be productive at an old age, recording 21 goals and 34 points in 82 games during the 2022-23 campaign.
2. Joe Pavelski, Dallas Stars
Born July 11, 1984, Joe Pavelski is currently the oldest forward in the NHL. Pavelski is 39 years of age and just a few weeks older than the NHL’s next oldest forward. Pavelski is currently playing for the Dallas Stars, where he plays an important role in their offense. The veteran forward played in all 82 games for the club in the 2022-23 season, recording 28 goals and 49 assists for 77 points. Furthermore, Pavelski’s plus-42 rating speaks to his impressive two-way game.
Pavelski was drafted by the San Jose Sharks in the 7th round of the 2003 NHL Draft. Much like the player that comes below him on this list, Pavelski was a player that hockey scouts got wrong. One of the reasons NHL teams passed on Pavelski was due to his size, as he’s currently listed at only 5’11” and 200 lbs. His small frame hasn’t been a deterrent in his career, as “Little Joe” has recorded 440 goals and 548 assists in 1,238 career NHL games.
Pavelski spent 12 seasons with the Sharks before signing with the Dallas Stars as a free agent in the summer of 2019. Pavelski is an NHL player who is considered invaluable to any team. He is one of the best faceoff specialists in the league and is also regarded as the master of tipping pucks past goaltenders. This isn’t even touching on his stellar defensive play, which has led to him being a finalist for the Selke Trophy on multiple occasions. Pavelski reached the Stanley Cup Final with the Sharks in 2016 but came up short, losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Many hockey fans are rooting for Pavelski to win a Cup with Dallas before he retires.
1. Mark Giordano, Toronto Maple Leafs
At 40 years of age, Mark Giordano is currently the oldest active NHL player. The veteran rearguard was born October 3rd, 1983, making home the oldest NHL player by a solid nine months and eight days. Giordano is currently playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs, where he recorded four goals, 20 assists and 24 points in 78 games during the 2022-23 season. Regarded as one of the NHL’s most respected players, Giordano currently sports an ‘A’ on his jersey.
Giordano began his career with the Calgary Flames, where he was signed with the club as a free agent in the summer of 2005. Surprisingly, Giordano went undrafted coming out of the OHL with the Owen Sound Attack. All the teams who passed on Giordano in the draft ended up having regrets, as “Gio” went on to have a very successful career with the Flames. During his 15 seasons with Calgary, Giordano earned the captaincy and won the Norris Trophy in 2019.
Giordano’s NHL career has taken a new life in its final years. The Seattle Kraken selected him in 2021 as part of the NHL Expansion Draft, ending his long run in Calgary. However, Giordano wouldn’t spend much time with the NHL’s newest franchise, as Seattle traded Gio to Toronto midway through the 2021-22 campaign. Giordano’s ice time has dipped to 19:00 in 2023 after he played upwards of 25 minutes a night during his prime years.
Just Missed: Ryan Suter (38), Eric Staal (38)