After 13 NHL seasons, Michael Peca has called it a career as the two-time Selke Trophy winner announced his retirement Tuesday.
The 35-year old Peca appeared in 864 career games split between the Canucks, Sabres, Islanders, Oilers, Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets. He finished his career with 176 goals, 289 assists and 798 penalty minutes. He twice reached the Stanley Cup Final with Buffalo in 1999 and Edmonton 2006. He also helped Canada capture the gold medal at the 2002 Olympic Winter games in Salt Lake City, Utah.
"I truly have enjoyed my entire career as an NHL player," Peca said in a statement through the NHLPA. "Playing the game at the highest level, with and against the top hockey players in the world, has been a pleasure. Throughout my 13-season career I was fortunate to play on some exceptional hockey teams, particularly the 2002 Canadian Olympian team and the Sabres and Oilers teams that reached the Cup finals. Really I am grateful for the lasting friendships and memories that the game of hockey has given me, and I would like to thank my family, teammates, and the fans for all their support along the way."
One of the premier defensive forwards of the past two decades, Peca was originally selected 40th overall by the Canucks in the 1992 NHL Entry draft and was traded to the Sabres in a blockbuster deal along with Mike Wilson and a first round draft pick for Alexander Mogilny and a fifth round pick.
After five-years in Buffalo, Peca did not play for the entire 2000-01 season due to a contract dispute. He was traded to the Islanders in June of 2001 for Tim Connolly and Taylor Pyatt, where he was immediately named team captain. In his first season on Long Island, he led the Islanders to their first playoff berth since the 1993-94 season while setting career highs in assists with 35 and points with 60.
He was dealt to the Oilers in 2006 and helped lead the team to the Stanley Cup finals, losing in seven games to the Carolina Hurricanes. The Toronto native spent his final two seasons with his hometown Maple Leafs and then the Blue Jackets.
Besides his professional career, Peca also had an extremely distinguished international career. He was part of Canada's gold medal-winning World Junior squad in 1994 and captained Canada's 2001 World Championship team. He also was a big part of Canada's Olympic champion team in 2002, helping end a 50-year gold medal drought.
"Today, I can honestly say that I am able to walk away from the game as a player knowing that I always left everything I had on the ice," Peca said in a statement. "I appreciate everything hockey has given me, and I hope that I earned the respect of my great teammates and opponents by playing the only way I knew how to."