Ottawa Senators forward Chris Neil and Colorado Avalanche forward Jarome Iginla will hit major milestones tonight when they hit the ice for their respective teams. Neil is set to play his 1,000th game while Iginla will play his 1,500th.
Chris Neil has played all of his 999 games for the Ottawa Senators. He was drafted in the 6th round (161st overall) in 1998—one pick before Montreal Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov and ten picks before former Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk. In his 999 games Neil racked up 112 goals, 136 assists, and a whopping 2,492 penalty minutes. Known more as an enforcer than a scorer, Neil has dropped the gloves at least 172 times in his NHL regular season career, according to HockeyFights.com.
Jarome Iginla has split his 1,499 games between the Calgary Flames (1219 games), Pittsburgh Penguins (13 games), Boston Bruins (78 games), and Colorado Avalanche (189 games). He’s amassed 614 goals and 665 assists in those games alongside an additional 37 goals and 31 assists in 81 playoff games. Iginla was the centerpiece of the Flames from his first season in 1996-97 to when he was traded at the 2012-13 trade deadline to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Despite being 39 years old, Iginla has remained productive, scoring 30, 29, and 22 goals in his last three seasons.
The veteran forward is in the final year of his contract with the Avalanche that pays him $5.33MM a year, and it is unclear whether Iginla steps away from the game in the offseason. He is off to a slow start this season with only 3G and 3A in 25 games, which could be signs of decline or just a product of Colorado’s anemic offense—the team ranks 29th in goals for. There will be suitors for Iginla this offseason if he decides to continue playing, and the wily veteran could be a worthy addition to the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.