Mark Letestu never tallied more than 16 goals in a season, but the forward still put together an impressive NHL career as a key utility player, appearing in 567 games. However, that time looks like it’s over as The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline (subscription required) writes that Letestu is retiring.
“The tool bag … it’s had enough,” Letestu told The Athletic on Sunday. “I skated good enough. I shot the puck really well. I thought the game really well. But I got a lot of breaks along the way, too, right from the very start. Luck is a big part of all of it, absolutely, but I also took advantage of those opportunities and played well when I needed to. I got a lot of time out of being a short, slow guy in a fast man’s league.”
The 35-year-old Letestu hasn’t seen much NHL action since playing 80 games between Edmonton and Columbus in 2017-18. He stayed with Columbus for the 2018-19 season, but spent most of that time with their AHL affiliate, the Cleveland Monsters, playing 64 games there, while only appearing in two games with the Blue Jackets that year. Last year wasn’t much better as Letestu signed with the Winnipeg Jets last offseason, but even with their injury woes, Letestu still only played seven games for the Jets.
Letestu originally signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins, eventually playing four years for the Columbus Blue Jackets. He signed with the Edmonton Oilers in 2015 and played with the Oilers for three seasons before the Blue Jackets reacquired him at the trade deadline in 2018 to help out in their playoff hopes. He was known as a jack-of-all trades forward, who could operate in any situation on the ice, making him quite valuable to any team that had him. His best season was in 2016-17 with the Oilers when he tallied 16 goals and 35 points (along with 11 points in 13 playoff games). In all, Letestu scored 93 goals and 210 points over his 12-year career.