Dennis Seidenberg called it a career on Wednesday, hanging up the T-blades after 15 years in the NHL.
Seidenberg played 859 games over his 15-year run, with stops in Boston, Philadelphia, Carolina, Arizona and the Long Island. He recorded 251 points (44G, 207A) and won a Stanley Cup with the Bruins in 2011.
The veteran defenseman played the final two seasons of his career with the Islanders, joining the club at the start of the 2016-17 season. He made a lasting impression on his teammates as a well-liked and well-respected presence in the locker room. Those relationships should serve him well, as the Islanders announced on Monday that Seidenberg will join the team's player development staff.
"Dennis is a pro's pro," captain Anders Lee said. "He's someone who worked extremely hard at his game and had a wonderful career. Great guy in the room and someone who, when he came our way, brought a lot of experience… He was able to take some of our younger D at the time and show them the ropes."
Johnny Boychuk is one of Seidenberg's longest-tenured teammates as the two spent seven seasons together between their time in Boston and Long Island. They're also neighbors, living two blocks away from each other on the Island.
"He's a good friend and you always like seeing him around, practicing with him, playing with him, going for lunch with him, anything," Boychuk said. "He'll always be a good friend and teammate. I cherish the moments I had with him, especially when we won."
Seidenberg didn't play a game for the Islanders last season, but spent the year practicing with the team on a professional tryout, before inking a contract after the trade deadline. He didn't get any of the glamour of playing in the NHL last season, only the grind of tough practices. That spoke to Seidenberg's love for the game, his connection to the Isles and the organization's view of him as a mentor.
"It shows how much he loves the game, how much he cares and how much he cared about our team," Lee said. "For him to stick around and practice and do all those things and do everything that he'd normally be doing says a lot about his character."
The German defenseman played an integral role in Mathew Barzal's career, housing the Isles center during his rookie season and helping him adjust to life in the NHL. Seidenberg and his wife, Rebecca, are housing Noah Dobson, the Isles' prized defensive prospect, this season.
"He's like a mentor to me, just the way he handles himself and carries himself and trains," Barzal said. "You see the shape he's in. He's an ironman. He and that whole family have done a lot for me."
Boychuk seconded Seidenberg's reputation as a fitness freak, something that allowed Seidenberg to play into his late 30s.
"He's in better shape than maybe like 90% of the guys in the league," Boychuk said.
Seidenberg's last game came on May 15, 2018, as Germany lost 3-0 to Canada at the World Championships. Seidenberg was a longtime fixture on the German international team, representing Germany in three Olympic Games, and playing for Team Europe at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. Seidenberg also won Best Defenseman at the 2017 World Championships.
In addition to his Stanley Cup in 2011, Seidenberg won a Calder Cup in 2005 with the Philadelphia Phantoms.
"He had a great career," Barzal said. "Obviously just such a pro off the ice at all times. I don't think there's a guy that worked harder… [I'm] happy for him, happy that he had a great career and he should proud of it."