Veteran blueliner Brad Stuart will join some select company this evening, as he’ll play in the 1,000th game of his 15-year career.
One thousand is a lofty number, and it doesn’t come easily to many in the league. In fact, the 35-year-old Stuart will become just the 100th defenseman (293rd player overall) to reach that achievement when the puck drops tonight in the house that the Penguins built.
“It’s a nice accomplishment, something that you don’t really think about when you come into the league,” Stuart said on Wednesday. “You’re just trying to stay in the league and establish yourself, and then as I got closer and closer I realized how it’s a pretty good milestone for someone to play that many games.
“It’s a lot games, but I’ve had a lot of fun and made a lot of good memories.”
The third overall pick at the 1998 NHL Entry Draft — behind Vincent Lecavalier and David Legwand, the latter of whom hit the 1,000 games-played plateau earlier this season — Stuart’s carved himself a nice resume with San Jose, Boston, Calgary, Los Angeles, Detroit and Colorado. He broke in during the 1999-2000 season and was the runner-up to Scott Gomez for the Calder; he also captured a Stanley Cup with the Red Wings in 2008.