When the off-season continues to pass and players still have “free agent” associated with their names, so many questions can be asked.
Hockey is a physically strenuous game, and because of that it takes a special kind of player to play to the age of 40. For many players who are over the age of 35, or are seen as past their prime, the question of retirement tends to surround discussions of their names.
Here is my list of eight players who are still in the pool of free agency and would be better off hanging up the skates now, instead of hoping for a new team for next year. Just for clarification, I chose to organize this list by age, youngest to oldest, and for players who match in age, simply alphabetically.
At 41-years-old, Anaheim’s veteran forward, Teemu Selanne, has been playing for years like he is out to prove that age is just a number and he has done just that. The “Finnish Flash” was ranked 2nd on his team with 80 points last season including 16 powerplay goals.
Considering Teemu Selanne is over 40 and still has not signed a contract, I felt it necessary to include him in this slideshow, however as long as he continues to play like players half his age and has a passion to play, he shouldn’t ever hang up the skates.
John Madden played an impressive 76 games with Minnesota last season and scored 25 points, and for Madden that is a solid year’s statistics.
Madden is solely on this list because of his age. At 38 years of age, he is a strong shutdown center who isn’t all that beat up by the game, and because of that, he seems like he probably has another year or so in the tank. But does a team really want him?
The youngest player on our list is goaltender, Marty Turco, who spent nine seasons with the Dallas Stars, and this past season with the Chicago Blackhawks. In the 2010-2011 season, Turco played in just 29 games, a statistic that is lowest in his career aside from his rookie year in 2000-2001.
Turco made a name for himself as a smart puck handling goalie, being very active outside of the crease, however there are too many young powerhouse goaltenders fighting for a net to protect for a veteran like Turco to find a new home.
When it comes to enforcers in the NHL, they tend to have shorter careers, probably because of the physical beating they take in most of their games. The NHL now expects the enforcers to have more skills than just the talents after dropping the gloves.
Mike Grier played the 2010-2011 season with the Buffalo Sabres, and tallied 16 points in 73 games played. Too many other NHL grinders have so much to offer, so Grier really won’t have a team to go to next year encouraging him to opt instead for retirement.
Bryan McCabe, at just 36-years-old, seems to have become pretty much useless to most teams shopping for an offensively minded defender. McCabe used to have some amazing offensive capabilities, however that seems to have slowed down as he aged.
For this veteran blue liner, he used to be able to make a name for himself leading the powerplay units, however McCabe seems to have lost sight of those talents too, making retirement a pretty likely alternative.
With all of the younger talent that is bursting into the NHL, there are some teams searching for a veteran to help guide the newcomers. However, when a team is looking for that seasoned player, they don’t think about a defender like Craig Rivet.
After 16 seasons in the NHL split over four teams, Craig Rivet’s career has been something like a rollercoaster. Some seasons he played over 60 games in a season, other times, like last season he would only appear in 14 contests. His point production was also all over the map, ranging from two points in 61 games, to eight points in 17 games. No team has a spot for a player who is this inconsistent and aging.
When it comes to players who need to retire, Peter Forsberg is absolutely one of the top names on the list. A lot of people even forgot that he ended up playing a few games in the NHL this past season considering he was absent the two seasons before that.
There’s a time to hang up the skates for good and accept that a career has run it’s course. For Peter Forsberg, it’s difficult to accept, but his very impressive career should be ending soon just because he’s no longer able to post the impressive numbers and keep up with this ever-changing game.
Cory Stillman has spent 16 seasons in the NHL and has played in six different team’s jerseys. For this one-time 80-point scorer, it seems like his career has never really had the same consistency since he left Tampa Bay after the 2003-2004 season.
For a player who struggles to find a team that he meshes well with, retirement seems like a pretty likely option, mainly because teams groom players to fit their style. I can’t think of any team that would go out of their way to pick up a player like Stillman at this point.
Michael Nylander played the last two seasons in the AHL affiliates of teams, meaning he was struggling to even play in the big leagues. When a player, who is 38, has been straddling the line between minor leagues and the NHL since 1992, something clearly isn’t working out.
Considering his contract just expired, I’m not expecting any team to try and sign Nylander to any sort of contract, and because of that, he is very likely to be hanging up the skates for good very soon.
Mike Modano has been active in the NHL since the 80’s, playing his first year back in the 1989-1990 season with the Minnesota North Stars. After 20 years with the same franchise, including a relocation to Dallas, Modano played last season with the Detroit Red Wings.
Modano needs to accept that his career will only include one Stanley Cup Championship, and that was back in 1999. He has progressively tailed off the number of games he plays each season, and if he was to stall retirement, I doubt any team has a place that he would fit in.