Zetterberg and Franzen will be 39 at the start of the final season on their contracts so I used that as my initial cutoff (should have clarified).
Hockey-reference.com is my first stop for stats typically -- their "power play" feature is invaluable.
107 seasons played at 39 or greater.
57 at 40 or greater. 34 players.
29 seasons played at 41 or greater.
14 at 42 or greater. 8 players.
Over 4 times as many players have played at 40 or greater than 42 or greater.
Did you want to eliminate defenseman as well? That should further help your case!
I guess i assumed it would not take a rocket scientist to determine a star player at 50% of his prime at the age of 40 is much better than a standard player at 50% of his prime at 40 -- the star player has a greater chance of still being good enough to play in the league. Nothing scientific about it, and just common sense.
For every "Ledyard" there are 5 Yzermans, Hulls, Howes, Messiers, Oates, etc.
The point, I think, was that a long-term contract out to 40 for someone like Hossa is a lot more realistic than a long term contract out to 40 for someone like Kyle Calder (both 30). I agree with that.
The entire player pool has to be considered. You can't pick and choose which players you want to be a part of the list. There would be too much debate over who to include on a "stars" list. Therefore, the data should include all players. And when the data includes all players you wind up with a list you can scribble down in 5 minutes all of the names of players who have made it to age 40 or more out of the countless thousands of players who have put on an NHL jersey.
Either way, plenty more players play to 40 than 42.
Looks like '4 times' is about right. 400% - seems significant to me.
Either way, age 40 or 42, the percentile chance of playing at either age is too small to be of any relevance.
Feel free to keep trying though, i'm just not going to buy it.
You're not going to buy that significantly more players play at 40 than 42?
The cap difference is also significant. Detroit saves $1m in cap space on Zetterberg and Franzen by tacking on two cheap years while Chicago saves $2m in cap space by tacking on 4 extra cheap years to Hossa's contract -- I think this is the biggest beef from most GMs pointing fingers at Chicago.
So where would you draw the line?
973 players played in the NHL last year.
108 were 34 or greater: 11%
54 were 36 or greater: 3.5%
26 were 38 or greater: 2.7%
7 were 40 or greater: .7%
3 were 42 or greater: .3% (The most ever in the history of the NHL)
1 was 44 or greater: .1%
35 seems the most realistic.
But I would argue it is advantageous for both the players, franchises and fans if GMs and players could agree to long-term contracts beyond that age. 38 would be a good idea - but either way you slice it, 42 is worse than 40.