Karlis Skrastins was born in Riga, Latvia on July 9th, 1974 and played three seasons in his homeland, then three more in Finland before he came to North America to peruse his NHL career. Skrastins turned pro with the Milwaukee Admirals of the International Hockey League and midway through that season was summoned to the NHL by the Nashville Predators.
A stay-at-home defenceman, Skrastins made his NHL debut during the 1998-99 season and in 1999-00 went on to play the better part of the season with the Preds'. After getting his feet wet for two seasons, Skrastins became an NHL regular in 2000-01, playing all 82 games for Nashville as part of their starting six defensive unit.
After two more seasons with Nashville, Skrastins was dealt to the Colorado Avalanche in the summer of 2003. He appeared in all 82 games with the Avs the following season and during the NHL lockout he returned home to Latvia. When the league returned to action in 2005-06, Skrastins would collect 3 goals, 11 assists, for 14 points, nearly matching his career high totals. The following season Skrastins made NHL history by breaking the record for consecutive games played by a defenseman. Skrastins appeared in 478 straight games, eclipsing the previous mark of 486 set by Tim Horton with the Maple Leafs. However, his streak came to an end at 495 games when he was held out of the lineup due to an injury to his knee.
The stay-at-home defenseman was dealt the following season at the 2008 NHL trading deadline to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Ruslan Salei.
On the international stage, Skrastins represented his homeland at the World Championships (1999-2001 and 2005) and the Winter Olympics (2002).