Rangers' Naslund announces retirement at age 35 Staff

5/4/2009 4:11:48 PM

New York Rangers forward Markus Naslund has announced his retirement after 15 seasons in the National Hockey League.

The 35-year-old veteran signed a two-year, $8 million contract as a free agent with the Rangers last summer, and still had one year remaining on the deal, worth $3 million.

"I would like to sincerely thank Glen Sather and the New York Rangers for giving me the opportunity this past season in New York," said Naslund in a statement.  "I would also like to thank the Vancouver Canucks and all of their fans for their support over the 11-plus seasons I was a part of their organization, as well as to the Pittsburgh Penguins where I began my NHL career."

In 15 NHL seasons - 11 with the Canucks - Naslund compiled 395 goals and 869 points in 1,117 games. He was drafted in the first round, 16th overall, by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft. His most productive season was 2002-03, when he scored 48 goals and tallied 104 points for Vancouver. He scored 40 or more goals three times.

The long-time Vancouver captain departed the team after the 2007-08 season as the club's franchise leader in goals (346), points (756), power play goals (114), and game-winning goals (49).

"He was a player with great offensive instincts and he knew where the back of the net was," said former Rangers head coach Tom Renney, who coached Naslund in New York during the first part of this season.  "He might have had his best moments in Vancouver playing with Todd Bertuzzi and Brendan Morrison but he certainly added to a very dry offence in New York."

Naslund scored 46 points during his only campaign in New York, which represented the fifth consecutive season of declining point production for the native of Ornskoldsvik, Sweden.

New York would have had an opportunity to buy Naslund out in June, at a total cost of $3 million in cap hits over the next two seasons. Instead, with Naslund's departure, the Rangers will save $4 million in salary cap space immediately for the 2009-10 season.