A tribute to Marian Gaborik's 1,000th NHL game

Marian Gaborik has had quite the career so far over 1,000 NHL games. NHLPA.com looks back at the first-ever Minnesota Wild draft pick who was also a key player for the 2014 Stanley Cup-winning LA Kings.

Marian Gaborik's NHL journey began alongside the club that drafted him – the Minnesota Wild.

A career that began as the Wild’s first ever draft pick, Gaborik was selected third overall in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft and soon became intertwined with the newly minted expansion franchise. As an 18-year-old, Gaborik scored the first NHL goal of his career – it was also the very first for the franchise in their inaugural game October 6, 2000.

The winger achieved another franchise first in 2003 when he became the first representative for the Minnesota Wild at an All-Star Game. The Slovak later helped the team to their first Stanley Cup Playoffs appearance that season, in which he tallied 17 points in 18 postseason games during the team’s run to the 2003 Western Conference final.

Gaborik skated in 502 games during his eight seasons with the Wild, leaving Minnesota as the all-time franchise leader in goals (219), power-play goals (59), and game-winning goals (43) – marks that still stand today.

Gaborik signed as a free agent with the New York Rangers in 2009, and while representing the team in 2012, he was named MVP in what was his third All-Star Game appearance. He skated in 255 games and posted 229 points as a Ranger before he was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets at the 2013 trade deadline. He enjoyed a brief stint with the team before an ensuing trade to the Los Angeles Kings shortly prior to the 2014 deadline.

It was in Los Angeles that he led the NHL postseason with 14 playoff goals as a key player in the Kings' 2014 run to the Stanley Cup.

Over the course of his NHL career, Gaborik has scored 30 goals or more seven times, including three 40-goal campaigns. He has also represented Slovakia twice in the Olympics, in 2006 and 2010.

Approaching four years since he joined the Kings, Gaborik recently hit the 400-goal plateau to earn his 800th NHL point.

December 15th at Madison Square Garden, Gaborik joins elite company by becoming the 314th player skate in 1,000 NHL games.