After a season spent mostly without a contract or in the minor leagues, Lee Stempniak was without a team once again this summer. Today, he announced his retirement from the NHL altogether, ending a 13-season run.
Stempniak, 36, played just two games for the Boston Bruins in 2018-19, instead suiting up for 20 contests in the minor leagues, the most AHL time he had seen since 2005. Originally selected in the fifth round of the 2003 draft, the Dartmouth College grad carved out a long successful career playing somewhere between a top-line scoring option and a third-line checking winger. Routinely scoring double-digit goals, he actually set a career-high of 28 in 2009-10 and will finish his career with 203 in 911 regular season games.
More impressive than his point totals perhaps is his career path, which took him to ten different NHL organizations. Stempniak was traded six times over his career, in various deals that were often completed at or around the trade deadline. An NHL mercenary, he never played more than 233 games for a single team.
The veteran forward would like to stay in hockey, and already there have been many who believe he’ll find success in whatever he does. The consummate professional during his playing days, it will be easy to see him get behind a bench or jump into a front office role at some point in the future.