In the wake of Chris Drury’s retirement, several other notable NHLers could be facing the same thing between now and next summer.
Respected veteran center Chris Drury formally announced his retirement on August 19th, bringing to an end his twelve-year NHL playing career.
It wasn’t a surprise, as Drury had been hampered in recent years by a degenerative left knee injury, and the writing was on the wall when the NY Rangers bought out the final year of his contract in June.
Drury isn’t the only NHL player who could face retirement, either in the coming weeks, throughout this coming season, or next summer. With the help of CapGeek.com, here’s a list of other potential retirement candidates.
Possible candidates this year or this season:
Teemu Selanne. The Anaheim Ducks are hoping he’ll return for one more season, but that’ll depend on his recovery from off-season knee surgery. If he feels he can no longer play at a high level, he’ll retire.
Mike Modano. He’s been past his “best-before” date for some time now. He’s hinted at retirement if no club signs him before the start of this coming season. I suspect we’ll hear a retirement announcement before October.
Cory Stillman. It’s possible the 37-year-old could be signed by a club seeking depth on the wing, but like Modano, his best offensive years are well behind him.
Marty Turco. His performance has been in decline for the past couple of years. He’s no longer capable of being a reliable NHL starting goalie, and it’s questionable he’ll find work in the NHL as a backup. Europe or retirement appear to be his options.
John Madden. The 38-year-old veteran checking forward said this spring if he couldn’t re-sign with the Minnesota Wild, he’d retire, rather than move his family again. If he sticks to his word, his NHL career is likely over.
Sergei Samsonov. He’s only 32, but his offensive production has significantly dropped off over the past several years. If he doesn’t retire, he could end up in the KHL.
Mike Grier. A respected veteran checking forward, it’s possible the 36-year-old Grier might get a training camp tryout and earn a job that way. Otherwise, it’s either playing overseas or packing in his playing career.
Possible candidates next summer.
Martin Brodeur. He’s in the final year of his current contract, and hinted this could be his last, depending on his performance and if next year’s CBA talks result in another work stoppage.
Nicklas Lidstrom. Yes, he won the Norris Trophy last season, but quite frankly, I believe that was based more on his great career than on his performance last season, as his playing time was reduced, he saw limited time on the penalty kill, and was a minus player for the first time in his career. This coming season could be his last.
Sheldon Souray. It came as a surprise the Dallas Stars opted to take a chance on Souray, whose performance has been significantly hampered by injury, so much so his former club, the Edmonton Oilers, couldn’t find any takers last season via trade or waivers. Lack of improvement this season will spell the end of his career.
Jason Blake. The 37-year-old winger’s production has been in decline since his 63-point performance with Toronto in 2008-09. If the decline continues this coming season, this season could be his last.
Saku Koivu. His numbers the past two seasons were respectable, but he’s clearly no longer top line material, and will turn 37 this November. Time is no longer on his side.
Sean Avery. His poor play last season and off-ice antics were thought to spell the end of his time with the Rangers, yet the club opted not to buy out his contract. He’ll have to dramatically improve his act – on and off the ice – if he hopes to earn another contract with the Rangers, let alone another NHL team beyond this season.
Jaroslav Spacek. Entering the final season of his contract with the Canadiens, the 37-year-old Spacek’s career is winding down, as his offensive numbers have dropped noticeably the past two years. The Habs probably won’t re-sign him next summer, and it’s doubtful he’ll land with another NHL club.
Filip Kuba. Injuries have hampered Kuba’s effectiveness and limited his playing time in recent years. It’s rumored the Senators are trying to move him, but with his salary ($3.7 million cap hit) and injury history, that’s unlikely to happen. It’s doubtful he’ll still be in the NHL after this season.
Willie Mitchell. Once considered amongst the best defensive blueliners in the league, injuries have taken a significant toll on Mitchell. If he cannot rebound this season, he’ll have a tough time finding takers as a free agent next summer.
Jaromir Jagr. Back in the NHL after a three season hiatus in the KHL, the 39-year-old is hoping to silence critics who claim he’s incapable of playing well at the NHL level, and his comeback is financially motivated. It remains to be seen, but a poor performance will spell the end of his playing career, at the NHL level, and in Europe.
Ray Whitney. At 37, Whitney has been defying time with his strong performances, but at some point, age will catch up with him. If it happens this season, it could spell the end of his NHL career.
Steve Sullivan. A small but popular player throughout his NHL career, Sullivan earned respect for recovering from two serious back surgeries to continue his NHL career, but he played in only 44 games last season. He’ll have a chance to prove his critics wrong with the Penguins this season, but another injury-shortened campaign could make this season his last.