Another veteran free agent is off the market, but it isn’t because of a new contract. Ben Lovejoy has decided to announce his retirement as a player after 11 NHL seasons.
Lovejoy, 35, finished last season with the Dallas Stars after coming over as a trade deadline acquisition from the New Jersey Devils. The undrafted defenseman played well enough down the stretch to find himself among our Top 50 Unrestricted Free Agents, but instead of grinding through another contract as a depth piece he’ll hang up his skates. Lovejoy carved out quite the career for himself through the years, suiting up 544 times in the NHL with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Anaheim Ducks, Devils and Stars and recording 101 points. In 2016 he took home the Stanley Cup with the Penguins, playing in all 24 postseason contests and recording six points.
Though many undrafted college free agents never find their way in the NHL, Lovejoy is an example of how an organization can prop up their depth charts with overlooked talent. The Penguins, who inked Lovejoy in 2008, are one of the best examples of this around the league and continue to find NHL talent in unexpected places.