Martin St. Louis on Thursday announced his retirement from the NHL after 16 seasons.
St. Louis, who turned 40 on June 18, had 21 goals and 54 points in 74 games with the New York Rangers last season.
"I have been blessed to play for 16 years in the NHL; it has been an amazing ride," St. Louis said in a statement released by the Rangers. "I would like to thank the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers organizations and owners for providing me the opportunity to play the sport I love for so many years.
"I could have never played for so long or accomplished all that I have without the unwavering love and support from my wife, Heather, our three sons, Ryan, Lucas, and Mason, and my parents."
St. Louis had 391 goals and 1,033 points in 1,134 regular-season games. Prior to spending the past season-plus with the Rangers, St. Louis played parts of 13 seasons with the Lightning (2000-2014) and 69 games with the Calgary Flames (1998-2000).
The Flames took a chance on the 5-foot-8, 180-pound sniper by signing him to a contract on Feb. 18, 1998. He quickly became an inspiration to undersized and undrafted players looking to one day make an impact in the NHL.
St. Louis came to the Rangers in a midseason trade with the Lightning in March 2014. The move made sense since he lives in Connecticut and had always relished the opportunity to play for the Rangers.
After finishing the 2014-15 regular season with his lowest point total since 2001-02, St. Louis had a goal and seven points in 19 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
He became an unrestricted free agent July 1. The New York Post reported last month that the Rangers didn't intend to bring him back for his expected salary-cap charge for 2015-16; St. Louis had just finished a four-year contract with an average cap charge of $5.625 million, according to war-on-ice.com.
St. Louis averaged 16:30 of ice time during the playoffs. The Rangers lost to the Lightning in seven games in the 2015 Eastern Conference Final.
"As you get older, you always think about the following year, the next year," St. Louis said in June. "I've been blessed to play parts of two years [in New York] for a great organization. The opportunity to play for a Cup [in 2013-14] and one win away again this year … it's an experience I'll never forget."
St. Louis helped the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Final in 2014 and scored his 1,000th NHL point last season. One of the more memorable moments of the 2014 playoffs took place when St. Louis scored in a 3-1 Game 6 victory in the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden three days day after his mother, France, died of a heart attack at the age of 63.
As replays of the goal were shown on the center-ice scoreboard, the MSG crowd began chanting, "Marty! Marty!"
The emotional moment occurred on Mother's Day, and served as a springboard for the Rangers to reach the Stanley Cup.
St. Louis played in seven NHL All-Star Games and was named All NHL First Team once and Second Team four times. He won the Art Ross Trophy as the League's leading scorer (2003-04 and 2012-13) twice (2004, 2013) and the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, awarded for sportsmanship and gentlemanly play combined with a high standard of playing ability, on three occasions (2010, 2011, 2013).
St. Louis spent parts of 13 seasons with the Lightning, who he helped win the Stanley Cup in 2004. He was Tampa Bay's captain in 2013-14 before he was traded and is the Lightning's all-time leader in points with 953 in 972 games.
His best season was 2003-04, when he led the NHL with 94 points and won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the League's most valuable player and the Lester B. Pearson Award (now known as the Ted Lindsay Award) as its most outstanding player.
He led the NHL in assists (56) in 2003-04 and in 2012-13 (43 in 48 games).
"I had the good fortune of working with some incredible players and trainers throughout my career who I am grateful to also call good friends," St. Louis said. "I am also thankful to all of the fans who have supported me through the years; it has meant so much to me. I have dedicated my life to being the best player I could be and now want to turn more of my focus to my three boys. I look forward to this next chapter of my life and the time I will have with my family."
The native of Laval, Quebec, scored 20 or more goals in a season 11 times in his career and was a 30-goal scorer seven times. He also totaled 80 or more points in six seasons and had a career-high 102 points in 2006-07. St. Louis also proved durable, playing in 80 or more games nine times in his career. He played in all 82 regular-season games in seven of eight seasons from 2002-03 through 2010-11.
Internationally, St. Louis represented Canada on several occasions. He was a member of the team that won the2004 World Cup of Hockey and was a two-time silver medalist at the World Championship. He led the 2009 IIHF World Championship with 15 points and was named a tournament all-star. A two-time Olympian (2006, 2014), St. Louis was also a member of Canada's gold medal-winning team at 2014 Sochi Olympics.
St. Louis played college hockey for the University of Vermont, leading the Catamounts to the NCAA Frozen Four in 1996 and earning All-America status on three occasions (1994-95 through 1996-97).