Every year there are players that come into the NHL that make an impact with their respective teams. Some come in hot and eventually burnout; while others have long and outstanding careers.
As with all things; the cycle of a professional hockey players career at some point must come to an end.
With this offseason there are many players that have already made it known that they will not be hitting the ice in a rink near you in the fall. Others are still pondering whether they will end their run.
I will examine players; many of which were some of the best of their generation, some that have retired, will retire, or are almost to that point in their careers.
Doug Weight is a player who has yet to announce any form of retirement from the league, but could conceivably do it in the near future.
He has been one of the best American-born players of his generation including playing in three different olympic games for his country. He is a four time All-Star and has raised the Stanley Cup once in his career for the Hurricanes in 2006.
In the past couple of seasons he has played for the up and coming New York Islanders who even named him the captain of the team. He will be best known however for his years as an Oiler and with the Blues.
Rod Brind'Amour recently made it official that he would not be taking the ice in a couple months with his retirement. Brind'Amour was as solid a forward as could be found throughout the league in his twenty-two years.
He started his career with the Blues, but his best years were in Philadelphia as he made the All-Star team in his first season as a Flyer. He was a great scorer and was eventually moved to Carolina where he became their captain in 2002.
It was under Brind'Amour's captaincy that the Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup in 2006. His defensive prowess was also recognized as he won the Selke Award twice in his career.
Mark Recchi recently signed a one-year contract with the Boston Bruins; however he will be 43 years old by the middle of the season next year.
Recchi is still productive with the Bruins as he totaled 43 points last season, and as consistent as it comes. He is an eight-time all-star who has been apart of two Stanley Cup winners with Mario Lemieux in 1991 and like Brind'Amour and Weight the Hurricanes in 2006.
One achievement that many Flyers fans will always remember is his 123 point season in 1992-1993 which still stands as a franchise record. "The Recchin Ball" as he is known by many will give it a go in 2010-2011, and lets hope he can keep up this high level of play.
In recent seasons Bill Guerin has been traveling around the league to a variety of different teams from most recently the Penguins along with the Islanders, Sharks, Blues, Stars, Bruins, Oilers,and the Devils where he spent many years.
Guerin most likely will be playing next season in the right situation, and he should as he still can give a team a solid player.
He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion to go along with his 4 All-Star appearances. Despite his long career he still was able to play in 78 games for the Penguins last season.
Keith Tkachuk is one of the players that has already officially hung up the skates for the last time. It is a shame because he was a old-school type that isn't seen much anymore. He was a guy that was a scorer, but could also get involved in a fight or two in his day.
Tkachuk was the staple of the St. Louis Blues for many seasons and became only the fourth United States born player to reach the 500 goal milestone. He was involved in five All-Star games in his career, but never got the chance to win the Cup.
"The Finnish Flash" Teemu Selanne has not yet decided whether he will return for the upcoming hockey season, but many avid fans throughout the world truly hope he chooses to come back.
This is a player who is in consideration for being one of the greatest international players in the history of the NHL. He has made 10 All-Star games and was the 18th player in history to reach the 600 goal platue.
He won the Cup with his beloved Ducks in 2007, and is regarded by many as the greatest and most accomplished Olympic hockey player in history.
Scott Neidermayer was one of outstanding leaders and winners that the game has seen in the last thirty years. For a player who came into the league it is astouding that he only played for two different teams in his time in the Devils and the Ducks.
4 Stanley Cups. 2 Gold Medals, 6 time All-Star, Norris Trophy Winner.
Young hockey players. That's a career.
Wayne Gretzky changed hockey in the state of California, but no one played their career with the success in the state like Rob Blake. Blake played with the Kings in two different runs including 1998 when he won the Norris Trophy.
He also finished his career with the upstate team in the talented Sharks. Despite playing the majority of his career in California he won his only Stanley Cup in his first season playing for the Avalanche.
Rob Blake announced his retirement after a Western Conference Final appearance with the Sharks. He will go down as one of the best defensemen of his generation.
Yes, he has signed up with the Red Wings for one season and has shown little signs of slowing down. At 40 years of age Niklas Lidstrom is not getting any younger, and one of these years his waiting period for the Hall of Fame will officially begin.
Few will argue that he is the best defensemen of his time winning every team and individual record that can be won. He has been apart of the great dynasty that has been seen in Detroit, and is one of the most intrical pieces of what has been done in Hockeytown.
Can he do it forever? I wouldn't doubt it.
Chelios recently said in a interview that he is "99%" sure that he will be retiring before the upcoming season begins at 48 years old. Though his presence hasn't been greatly felt on the ice for about five years his career cannot be downplayed.
His legacy will be of a supremly-talented and tough defensemen who played his career for very proud historical Original Six teams in Montreal, Chicago, and Detroit (Outside of 7 games with Atlanta).
Stanley Cups, Norris Trophies, and All-Star games are but a tip of the iceberg in listing what Chelios has meant to hockey.
Mike Modano by many accounts, including my own is the greatest American-born hockey player that has played the game. He has all the scoring records in that category and has played his entire career in the country, as the remaining North Star in Dallas for almost two decades.
Not many in sports can say they finish there careers not even mentioning Hall of Fame careers with one organization like Mike Modano can presently. It would make many sports purists happy to see such an occurance.
Maybe Mike will dismiss the Blackhawks and Red Wing rumors, and hang em' up with the Stars.