NHL Network is reporting that three-time Stanley Cup champion Niklas Hjalmarsson, who played the last four seasons in Arizona, is retiring after 14 seasons. The 34-year-old Hjalmarsson played the majority of his career with the Chicago Blackhawks, who picked him in the fourth round of the 2005 draft. No formal announcement is expected.
A stay-at-home defenseman who played a rugged defensive game in his own end, Hjalmarsson ends his NHL career with 172 points (25 goals, 147 assists) and 1,605 blocked shots in 821 games. He ranks second among all-time amongst defensemen with 75.23 blocked shots per 60 minutes.
The Arizona Coyotes remain longshots to win the Stanley Cup. PlayorBet betting odds stand at +10000. The team recently traded veteran defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and will be looking to rebuild the defensive corps under the second season General Manager Bill Armstrong.
According to NHL Network, when Hjalmarsson was asked why he was being humble with his retirement, he answered that it was a Swedish thing and just did not like the feeling of standing out.
We aren’t about ‘look at me’ very much”
“I guess it’s a Swedish thing. I don’t know how it is in other countries, but it’s definitely a Swedish thing. You don’t like to stand out too much. That’s how we are brought up, how we are raised. We aren’t about ‘look at me’ very much” Hjalmarsson said.
“I make a lot of money playing hockey. One of the best parts of that is I can do things with it. Share it. Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about paying bills. Once you take care of your family, you do what you can’, he added.
Joe Thornton Unsure About NHL Career
After inking a 1-year $700,000 contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, veteran center Joe Thornton scored 20 points (five goals, 15 assists) in 44 games. This season it’s almost certain that Toronto will move on without him.
The Maple Leafs Stanley Cup championship future odds at PlayOrBet are +1200.
Currently, the 42-year old Thornton is practicing with HC Davos of the National League, the top professional hockey league in Switzerland. Thornton previously played with HC Davos, including prior to last season when he scored 11 points (five goals, six assists) in 12 games with the Swiss team. He’s an unrestricted free agent is and unsure if he’ll have an opportunity to play again.
“This came so sudden, I really haven’t had time to think about it,” Thornton said June 2 after Toronto was eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. “First and foremost I have to be a dad for a little bit here. But yeah, I feel really, really healthy and really, really, good … And that’s a good sign.”
“It was hard,” Thornton said. “… My focus has to turn to right now. It’s a good feeling. I can’t wait to spend a lot of time with them.”
Thornton was the 1st overall draft pick in the 1997 NHL Draft and sits is 14th on the NHL all-time scoring list with 1,529 points (425 goals, 1,104 assists). Playing with the Boston Bruins, San Jose Sharks, and the Maple Leafs, Thornton is 6th all-time in games played with 1,680, ahead of Mark Recchi and 51 games behind Ron Francis.