Patrick Marleau is set to eclipse Gordie Howe on the NHL's all-time game's played list Monday night. Marleau will suit up for the 1,768th time, and setting the new benchmark will be the legacy-defining achievement for a 23-year career that's included two Olympic gold medals, over 500 goals, and nearly 1,200 points.
Marleau will accomplish the feat versus the Vegas Golden Knights, who won't play their 1,768th regular-season game as a franchise until the 2039-40 season, as The Athletic's Jesse Granger pointed out.
When a single career spans a generation, there's no shortage of mind-bending stats like the one above to marvel over. But perhaps the most ridiculous is the fact Marleau has appeared in at least one game with 37% of players in the 104-year history of the league.
But rather than dive into all the numbers, let's take a broader look back and remember what the world looked like when Marleau's career started.
The NHL landscape
Oct. 1, 1997, is when it all began. The San Jose Sharks had drafted Marleau second overall a few months prior on the strength of his 125-point season with the WHL's Seattle Thunderbirds. At barely 18-years-old, Marleau cracked the Sharks' opening night roster, going pointless in 12:15 against the Edmonton Oilers in his NHL debut.