DDC discussed this topic back in November, but as Hejduk is the focus of a pre-game celebration tonight, recognizing his 1,000 games with the Avalanche, I thought it appropriate to bring it up again.
Milan Hejduk's career has been one of quiet greatness, and he's put up milestones in the Avalanche organization that often come as a surprise to many people. Drafted by the Quebec Nordiques in the 4th round of the 1994 NHL entry draft, few had any idea how important Hejduk would become to the franchise.
First and foremost, Hejduk has spent his entire career with one team, something that few players can say they've done. In fact, only 29 other players in the history of the NHL have done so. Tonight, Hejduk will become the only Avalanche player to reach 1,000 games in the burgundy and blue and the second to do so for the franchise. Only Joe Sakic played more games than the Czech (870 with the Avs and 508 with the Nordiques). Speaking of Czech players, Hejduk becomes just the 9th in NHL history to reach 1,000 games.
But Hejduk's greatness isn't just because he's stayed with the franchise for so long. He's also put up some points over the years. In 2011, he tied Joe Sakic's franchise record for consecutive 20-goal seasons at 11. In his rookie year (1998-1999), he was a Calder finalist and member of the NHL All-Rookie team, putting up 48 points (14 goals, 34 assists) in 82 games. That season he also scored two goals in overtime during the playoffs against San Jose—the first time a first-year player had done that in 60 years.
Why Milan Hejduk's Jersey Deserves to be in the Rafters
Second City Hockey | Feb 4