Photo credit: Chris Gordon
A 24-year-old Mike Knuble, then a promising forward prospect, played nine games for the Detroit Red Wings during the 1996-97 season.
Players who were still playing during Knuble’s first season in the NHL include Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Patrick Roy, Dominik Hasek, Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull, Mark Messier, Dino Ciccarelli, Brian Leetch, Grant Fuhr, and Ron Hextall.
Just days after Knuble’s first game, Phil Collins announced that he was leaving Genesis to focus on his solo career, M.C. Hammer wasn’t yet bankrupt, and it would be months before The Daily Show debuts on Comedy Central.
I guess what I am trying to say is Knuble is
old getting up there in years, but don’t tell him that.
“I’m out there playing for another deal,” he said. “I’m not riding off into the sunset. I want to make that point clear to everybody. This is no farewell song.”
I agree with him, but it is one of the last tracks on a darn good Greatest Hits album.
Players like Knuble who are productive over the age of 35 tend to keep their production rates in the league relatively stable as they age. Knuble was also a late bloomer: He had averaged eight goals per season his first three years and has almost tripled that production in his last three.
Using wingers who played at 39 years old post-lockout, we can make an educated guess on Knuble’s production for 2011-12. I will caution you that the entire player pool from which to draw from is limited, containing only Bill Guerin, Brendan Shanahan, Mark Recchi, and Teemu Selanne.
Using these players as a guide, we can speculate that Knuble will play 75 games, score 34 points (21 G and 13A) while taking 188 shots on goal.
Here are some probabilities for goals and point scored:
“It’s going to be a challenging year, definitely, with more competition,” cautioned Knuble. “Nothing is guaranteed.”
We couldn’t agree more.