Lee Stempniak Announces Retirement From NHL

Lee Stempniak skates the puck during a game.
RALEIGH, NC - FEBRUARY 23: Carolina Hurricanes Right Wing Lee Stempniak (21) skates with the puck during a game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Carolina Hurricanes at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC on February 23, 2018. Pittsburgh defeated Carolina 6-1. (Photo by Greg Thompson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

On Tuesday, journeyman forward Lee Stempniak announced his retirement from the NHL after 14 seasons.

Lee Stempniak Announces Retirement

After being selected in the fifth round (148 overall) by the St. Louis Blues in the 2003 NHL Draft, Stempniak went on to play in 911 regular season with 10 different NHL teams. He finished his career with 469 points. He also appeared in 28 playoff games, recording six points.

Stempniak last stepped on the ice last season with the Boston Bruins appearing in two games. His final game came on March 10, 2019, on the road for the Bruins against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Throughout his career, Stempniak was a dependable player who could stay healthy. In nine of his 14 seasons in the NHL, he played in 70 or more games.

While often on the move, Stempniak was a popular teammate and mentor to many he played with. One of the general managers who had high praise for Stempniak was Ray Shero. Shero traded for him in 2014 and then signed him as a free agent in 2015. “Lee has been a consummate pro and role model on every team he has been a part of,” Shero said in the statement released by the NHLPA.

Stempniak spent nearly four seasons of his career in St. Louis. In his second season, he set his career-high of 52 points. He would spend his career coming close to this tally, with a 48 point season in 2009-10 and a 51 point season in 2015-16, but was never able to break it. In true journeyman fashion, Stempniak was traded six times throughout his career and wore five different numbers.

Stempniak played in 20 AHL games last season, with the Providence Bruins. In those, the 36-year-old scored 18 points. Excluding one AHL game in the 2017-18 season, this was Stempniak’s first tenure in the minors since 2005-06, his first season as a professional hockey player.

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Jim is a 2008 graduate of Saint Michaels College who is currently writing about the NHL for Last Word on Hockey. His work includes writing about the New Jersey Devils as well as NHL Notebooks for the Metro and Central Division. Jim has a passion for the game of hockey. As one coach put it "he is the student of the game." When Jim is not writing he can be found at the local rinks playing or being a referee. Throughout his time in the game, Jim continues to coach a local high school team. In addition, he broadcasted several New Jersey Junior Rockets games for the Eastern Hockey League. Reach him on Twitter: @JimBiringer

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