Milan Hejduk is on the verge of doing something that no one ever has in a Colorado Avalanche sweater – skate in 1,000 career regular season games.
The right wing will hit the century mark on Monday when Colorado hosts the Dallas Stars at Pepsi Center (7 p.m., NBCSN). There will be a special recognition ceremony before the game.
“When I started in 1998 and played my first NHL game, I never thought that I would get to this number,” Hejduk said. “Playing for one organization, staying here in Denver for all these years. These days that doesn’t happen that often so it is definitely a special number and a special game.”
Hejduk will be the first player in Colorado Avalanche history to play 1,000 career regular season games and only the second player in the franchise’s annals, joining Joe Sakic, who dressed in 1,378 games (508 with Quebec, 870 with Colorado).
The 36-year old will be the 30th player in NHL history to skate in 1,000 games while spending their entire career with a single franchise. Of the 29 other men who have accomplished the feat, eight of those are still active (Shane Doan, Martin Brodeur, Jarome Iginla, Daniel Alfredsson, Patrick Marleau, Patrik Elias, Chris Phillips, Vincent Lecavalier).
“It means more to me that I did it with one team, one organization,” Hejduk said. “That makes it more special.”
A native of Usti-nad Labem, Czech Republic, Hejduk will be the ninth Czech-born player to reach 1,000 games. He will be one of five active Czech players to have hit the milestone, joining Roman Hamrlik, Jaromir Jagr, Vinny Prospal and Elias.
He was a fourth round choice (87th overall) by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1994 Entry Draft but did not make his NHL debut until the 1998-99 season when he played all 82 games and picked up 48 points (14 goals, 34 assists). He was a Calder Trophy finalist and a member of the NHL All-Rookie Team that season.
In 2002-03, Hejduk tallied 50 goals and 48 assists for 98 points and captured the franchise’s first-ever Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the NHL’s leading goal scorer.
He reached the 20-goal mark for 11 straight seasons from 1999-00 to 2010-11, tying Sakic’s franchise record for consecutive seasons of 20 or more goals.
Hejduk is also three points away from reaching another milestone, 800 points. He would become the second player in Avalanche history and fourth in franchise history to reach the feat. The only other Quebec/Colorado players to record 800 points were Joe Sakic (1641), Peter Stastny (1048) and Michel Goulet (945). Sakic had 1,015 of those points after the team relocated to Denver, making Sakic the only player to surpass 800 points in an Avalanche sweater.
Hejduk would become only the third Czech-born player in NHL history to reach 800 points, joining Jaromir Jagr (1,658) and Patrik Elias (901).
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