Longtime NHL player Rick Nash announced that he will be officially retiring from the NHL, due to unresolved health concerns.
Nash's agent sent out the statement that says the six-time all-star will step away from the game for good due to continuous concussion symptoms. His medical team suggested to the future Hall-of-Famer that he would be at risk of further brain damage if he continued playing.
The Brampton, Ontario native suffered a concussion at the end of March last season which caused him to miss the remaining regular-season matchups with the Boston Bruins. He did, however, return for all 12 of the Bruins playoff games.
Statement on behalf of client Rick Nash: pic.twitter.com/DekEvhSevy— Top Shelf Hockey (@Topshelf_TSSM) January 11, 2019
Nash then later announced this past June that he wouldn't be seeking any contract offers, while he's still in recovery from his concussion despite reportedly having eight teams interested in his services on a multi-year contract, that would have paid him in the double-figures per season.
The 34-year-old likely still could have played for another couple of seasons if it weren't for this concussion that has ended his professional career. In 71 games last season—split between the Rangers and the Bruins—he produced 21 goals, 34 points along with two game-winning goals as well.
Despite those relatively strong numbers, the decline had definitely been setting in for Nash over the last three seasons, most notably beginning after the 2014/15 season. Following that year—where he recorded 42 goals and 69 points—he went three straight seasons of failing to record more than 40 points each season.
Yet, even with this decline, he was still capable of being a productive player for any team in the NHL. So, Nash will be a very qualified candidate for when he's first eligible to be elected into the Hall-of-Fame.
Nash was drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets first overall back in 2002. During his 15-seasons in the league, he totaled 437 goals and 805 points in 1,060 games.
He also shared the Rocket Richard Trophy during the 2003/04 season with Jarome Iginla and Ilya Kovalchuk for scoring the most goals in a season, when they each hit 41 goals. Not to mention the two gold medals he won with Team Canada during the 2010 and 2014 Olympics.
Nash will be remembered for all these great accomplishments that he achieved. But, also as one of the many players that had their careers cut short due to concussions.
What This Means
Nash's retirement comes as a surprise, as it seemed that he would be able to recover from this concussion and return to the ice. But unfortunately, that will not be the case.
Still, it will be very likely that he becomes a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer when he's first eligible. He had so many great seasons with the Blue Jackets and the Rangers over the years, which is why it's so saddening to watch him hang up his skates for good this time.