Yanic Perreault, where did you go?
Kevyn Adams, where did you go?
Chad Kilger, where did you go?
So much about NHL hockey revolves around the here and now that it’s easy to forget the players who are not back with us this season.
We make a big deal, for good reason, about the retirements of the big-name players such as Dominik Hasek and Trevor Linden. And did anyone not read enough headlines of the pending retirements/comebacks of Scott Niedermayer, Mats Sundin and Peter Forsberg?
But whatever became of Richard Matvichuk, Scott Thornton and Martin Lapointe? How about Glen Murray, Geoff Sanderson and Dick Tarnstrom? I haven’t seen the names Mark Smith, Jim Dowd and Aaron Miller on any NHL rosters this season. Dallas Drake? Sandis Ozolinsh?
Some players retire simply because their time has come. Others never play again because, as seasoned veterans in a salary cap world, they don’t fit in anymore for a variety of reasons. But we salute you all for worthy careers that effectively evaporated before we had a chance to formally recognize them.
Every year in the NHL, more than 100 players make their big-league debuts. For some, it’s the start of something huge. For most, it’s just an NHL cup of coffee along the way to maybe something more next season.
But if 100-plus players are making their debuts, many dozens of players have been phased out, never to be heard from in the NHL again.
It’s actually a staggering list. You don’t realize the volume until you start jotting them down. Here’s a long list of NHL regulars in seasons past who are either playing in Europe or the minors this season. Apologies to those I’ve forgotten. If we don’t see you back in the NHL, thanks for the memories. We hardly knew ye.
Bates Battaglia, Jason Ward, Mike York, Petr Nedved, Patrick Traverse, Marcus Nilson, Branislav Mezei, Kris Beech, Vitaly Vishnevski, Ladislav Nagy, Steve McCarthy, Brad Isbister, Nolan Pratt, Bryan Berard, Curtis Brown, Sergei Brylin, Sean Hill, Jeff Cowan, Jon Klemm, Martin Rucinsky, Mathias Tjarnqvist, Josef Vasicek, Scott Parker, Peter Schaefer, Jeff Jillson, Mike Johnson, Randy Robitaille, Trevor Letowski, Shawn Bates, Andrei Zyuzin, Jan Hlavac, Nolan Baumgartner, Rory Fitzpatrick, Eric Boguniecki, Steve Kelly, Josh Green, Keith Carney, Alexei Zhitnik, Patrick Thoresen, Jed Ortmeyer, Brandon Bochenski, Joe Dipenta, Mark Hartigan, John Pohl, Jozef Stumpel, Martin Straka, Bryan Smolinski, Jaroslav Modry, David Vyborny, Martin Gelinas, Branko Radivojevic.
Brian Costello is The Hockey News’s senior special editions editor and a regular contributor to THN.com. You can find his blog each weekend.
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