Photos of what the stars of the NHL looked like when their careers started

The Stanley Cup playoffs offers some of the most exciting action in sports.

With sudden death overtime and every team just one hot goalie away from Stanley Cup immortality, playoff hockey represents edge-of-your-seat action from the moment the puck drops.

At the center of it all are the stars of hockey — players like Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, PK Subban and more who brought astounding skill to the sport the moment they took to the ice.

Now veterans of the league and masked with playoff beards, these players look a bit different than when they first joined the league as fresh-faced youngsters. Take a look below to see how players have changed since their NHL debut.

30 PHOTOS
What today's NHL stars looked like at the starts of their careers
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What today's NHL stars looked like at the starts of their careers

PK Subban in 2007 (age 18).

(Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

PK Subban today (28).

(Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Steven Stamkos in 2008 (18).

(Photo by Andre Ringuette/Getty Images)

Steven Stamkos today (28).

(Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)'n

Alex Ovechkin in 2004 (18).

(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Alex Ovechkin today (32).

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Zdeno Chara in 1996 (19).

(Getty Images/NHLI)

Zdeno Chara today (41).

(Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Marc-Andre Fleury in 2003 (18).

(Photo by: Getty Images)

Marc-Andre Fleury today (33).

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Evgeni Malkin in 2005 (18).

(Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

Evgeni Malkin today (31).

(Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

Sidney Crosby in 2005 (17).

(Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

Sidney Crosby today (30).

(Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Sergei Bobrovsky in 2010 (21).

(Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

Sergei Bobrovsky today (29).

(Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)

Claude Giroux in 2006 (18).

(Harry How/Getty Images for NHL)

Claude Giroux today (30).

(Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)

Joe Thornton in 2002 (22).

(Photo by Elsa /Getty Images)

Joe Thornton today (38).

(Photo by Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images)

Brent Burns in 2003 (18).

(Photo by: Getty Images)

Brent Burns today (33).

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Brad Marchand in 2004 (16).

(Photo by Andre Ringuette/Getty Images)

Brad Marchand today (29).

(Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images)

Phil Kessel in 2006 (18).

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Phil Kessel today (30).

(Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

William Karlsson in 2012 (19).

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

William Karlsson today (25).

(Photo by Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images)

Patrick Laine in 2016 (18).

(Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

Patrick Laine today (20).

(Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Now check out how the best players in basketball have changed since joining the league

Photos of what the stars of the NBA playoffs looked like when their careers started

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