After a career spanning 16 seasons and including 391 goals, 642 assists, 1,033 points, 1,134 regular season games, a Stanley Cup in 2004, a Hart trophy, two Art Ross trophies, three Lady Byng trophies, and an Olympic gold medal, Martin St. Louis is hanging up his skates.
The 40-year-old veteran announced his retirement on Thursday amidst all the chaos of the Free Agent Frenzy. The Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Rangers sent out the same press release regarding St. Louis’s retirement; St. Louis spent 13 years with Tampa and his final season-plus with New York.
“I have been blessed to play for 16 years in the NHL; it has been an amazing ride,” said St. Louis in a statement. “I would like to thank the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers organizations and owners for providing me with the opportunity to play the sport I love for so many years. I could never have played for so long or accomplished all that I have without the unwavering love and support from my wife, Heather, our three sons, Ryan, Lucas, and Mason, and my parents.
“I have had the good fortune of working with some incredible players and trainers throughout my career who I am grateful to also call good friends. I am also thankful to all of the fans who have supported me through the years; it has meant so much to me. I have dedicated my life to being the best player I could be and now want to turn more of my focus to my three boys. I look forward to this next chapter of my life and the time I will have with my family.”
St. Louis entered the offseason as a UFA. The New Jersey Devils and the Pittsburgh Penguins both reportedly expressed some interest in signing him, but St. Louis chose instead to end his career as a Blueshirt.
He hoisted the cup in 2004 with the Lightning and helped put Tampa Bay on the map. He had a career season with the Lightning in 2006-7 with a career-high 43 goals and 102 total points. St. Louis was eventually named captain prior to the 2013-14 season, but he was sent to New York at the trade deadline in a rare captain-for-captain trade.
In New York, St. Louis helped the Rangers make a run for the 2014 Stanley Cup. The tragic death of his mother in May 2014 sparked St. Louis’s play in the second-round series against Pittsburgh, and the rest of the Rangers team rallied around him as they overcame a 3-1 series deficit en route to the Stanley Cup Final.
St. Louis then wore the ‘A’ for the 2014-15 season but struggled offensively, putting up 21 goals and 31 assists in 74 games; the 52 points were his lowest total in nine years.
At 5’8″, St Louis was never the biggest guy on the ice, but his heart and passion for the game helped silence any doubters throughout his career. And despite the fact that he was never drafted, St. Louis stands a strong chance of ending up in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
“He’s the best teammate I’ve ever played with, without a doubt,” Rangers teammate Dominic Moore told SportsNet 590 after hearing of St. Louis’s retirement. “Not taking anything away from all of the amazing players and people that I’ve been fortunate enough to play with in my career, but Marty is one of a kind.”