7 NHL players who could retire after 2023-24 season

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Minnesota Wild
Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

According to CapFriendly.com, 641 NHL free agents will be available on July 1, divided into unrestricted and restricted groups. Of these players, 27 will be over the age of 35, which means some of them will be looking for their final contracts and one more shot at the Stanley Cup, and others may consider retirement.

There’s a small group of players over 37 who may be skating in their final NHL games during these next two weeks in the 2023-24 season.

Related: Top 10 NHL unrestricted free agents likely to join new teams

7 NHL players who could retire after 2023-24 season

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Pittsburgh Penguins
Jeff Carter – Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Giordano (40) – D – Toronto Maple Leafs

Mark Giordano is the oldest player in the NHL and has played 41 games this season with the Toronto Maple Leafs, missing a month of action due to a concussion. The former Norris Trophy winner (2018-19) will become a free agent July 1 after his two-year deal with the Maple Leafs, valued at $800,000, ends. Considering his age and injury, plus the fact that he has only scored seven points this season, he may call it quits.

Marc-André Fleury (39) – G – Minnesota Wild

Marc-André Fleury is a first-ballot Hall of Famer who recently became only the fourth goalie to dress in 1,000 games. Considering that the Minnesota Wild are not going to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Fleury has nothing left to prove, there’s a good chance that when free agency hits, the second-winningest goalie in NHL history will hang up his skates. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him ink a one-day deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins to retire with the team that drafted him No. 1 overall in 2003.

Jeff Carter (39) – C – Pittsburgh Penguins

Jeff Carter won the Stanley Cup twice with the Los Angeles Kings and scored 40 goals with the Philadelphia Flyers. However, since joining the Penguins in 2020-21, he hasn’t scored more than 19 goals, registering a career-low nine this season. At 39 and with just 13 points, his best days are in the past, and with Pittsburgh opting to go in a different direction with their lineup, he may be playing his final NHL games in the next two weeks unless the Penguins rally and qualify for the playoffs.

Zach Parise (39) – F – Colorado Avalanche

Zach Parise became a free agent last summer and spent four months of the 2023-24 season without a deal before signing with the Colorado Avalanche. He debuted on February 5 and has skated in 23 games with a top Western Conference club. However, with nine points, there’s a chance he won’t land another deal next year since he will turn 40 on July 28.

Pierre-Édouard Bellemare (39) – F – Seattle Kraken

Pierre-Édoudard Bellemare didn’t make his NHL debut until he was 29 and is one of just 13 France-born players in League history. In 2023-24, his first season with the Seattle Kraken, the 10-year veteran has skated in only 36 games after missing some time with a lower-body injury. Although he had a productive stretch from 2019 to 2022, he’s not a regular in the lineup and risks losing his spot to a younger player who needs the opportunity to grow into a role.

Related: 10 must-watch NHL games in final weeks of 2023-24 season

Corey Perry (39) – F – Edmonton Oilers

Corey Perry won a Stanley Cup championship and appeared in three consecutive Cup Finals with three different teams. But he missed a good chunk of the 2023-24 season after an off-ice incident when he was a member of the Chicago Blackhawks. Luckily, Perry got another shot by signing with the Edmonton Oilers on January 21 but has tallied only nine points in 29 games. Even though he’s proven to be a veteran player with much playoff experience, his potential Hall-of-Fame career may be winding down.

Alex Goligoski (38) – D – Minnesota Wild

Alex Goligoski has played 17 seasons in the NHL, winning the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2009. He’s played in over 1,000 games and scored close to 475 points. Unfortunately, at 38, he’s only dressed for 30 games in 2023-24 on a Wild team that is bound to miss the playoffs. He hasn’t scored a goal yet and has only nine points in limited action. Like several other players on this list, Goligoski may be hard-pressed to find a new deal in the summer of 2024.

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