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Former NHL defenseman Niinimaa retires

Monday, 02.10.2014 / 11:41 AM / News

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Former NHL defenseman Niinimaa retires
Janne Niinimaa, 38, who played for five NHL teams in 10 seasons in the League, announced his retirement from professional hockey Monday.

Janne Niinimaa, 38, who played for five NHL teams in 10 seasons in the League, announced his retirement from professional hockey Monday.

The native of Raahe, Finland had spent the previous six seasons playing in Europe, most recently seven games with Asploven in Sweden's second-division.

"I tried to train hard this season in Sweden," Niinimaa said. "Unfortunately my body couldn't hold up anymore and old injuries showed themselves."

Niinimaa, a 1993 second-round pick (No. 36) of the Philadelphia Flyers, played three seasons for Jokerit in his native Finland prior to arriving in the NHL for the 1996-97 season. He had 44 points in 77 games and was named to the 1997 NHL All-Rookie team. He then led all players with 12 assists in 19 games as the Flyers advanced to the 1997 Stanley Cup Final.

Midway through the following season the Flyers traded Niinimaa to the Edmonton Oilers, where he spent six seasons, the longest stop of his NHL career. He went on to play for the New York Islanders, Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens, with whom he had three assists in 41 games in the 2006-07 season.

In 741 NHL games Niinimaa had 54 goals and 319 points. He also had 24 points in 59 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Internationally Niinimaa won a bronze medal with Finland at the 1998 Nagano Olympics and a gold medal with Finland at the 1995 IIHF World Championship. He also won Finnish league titles with Jokerit in 1993-94 and Karpat in 2004-05, and a Swedish league title in 2009-10 with HV71.

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