While it’s far from surprising, it appears that Sami Salo, who hasn’t suited up since the 2013-14 campaign, could be close to officially announcing his retirement.
According to a report from Iltalehti.fi, the 40-year-old Salo will likely be forced to call his career quits following a wrist injury. The injury, which came at the end of the 2013-14 season, was so severe that is cost Salo the entirety of his 2014-15 campaign, as he remained a free agent for the duration of the season.
“It is very unlikely that Sami will be able to play longer and continue,” Salo’s agent Markus Lehto told Iltalehti. “(His) wrist injury is so severe.”
For a 15-year career, Salo had played just 878 games, often missing time due to injury. Since coming into the league in 1998-99 with the Ottawa Senators – the team that drafted him in the ninth round, 239th overall, in 1996 – Salo has never been able to complete a full 82-game season. The closest he came was in 2002-03 with the Canucks, when he suited up for 79 games, scoring nine goals and 30 points.
There was a time when Salo, when healthy, was one of the most feared power play triggermen in the entire NHL. His booming shot from the blueline made him one of the biggest threats on the Vancouver power play. He was at his best during the 2005-06 season when he scored nine of his 10 goals with the extra man. His nine goal output on the power play that season was his career high, though he did manage to muster six goals on the power play in 2009-10 and seven with the extra man in 2011-12.
Salo’s most productive all-around season came in 2006-07, however, when he managed 14 goals and 37 points in 67 games. As was the case through much of Salo’s career, however, he missed time that season with injuries to his groin, knee and shoulder.
Following his time with Vancouver – he spent nine seasons with the Canucks after four years in Ottawa to begin his career – Salo inked a two-year, $7.5 million deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2012-13. In Tampa Bay, Salo, who had been a 20-plus minute defenseman for most of his career, became a second-pairing blueliner in his first season and was downgraded to a second- and third-pairing defender in 2013-14.
Salo will end his career one goal short of 100 regular season markers for his career, having notched 99 goals and 339 points in his 878 games. In 102 career playoff games, Salo scored 12 goals, eight of which came on the power play, and 31 points.