Keith Tkachuk has decided to hang up his skates.
With the St. Louis Blues eliminated from the playoffs, the 18-year veteran made the announcement during the teams' game against the Blackhawks in Chicago on Wednesday night. Tkachuk was a scratch for the game with a lower-body injury and will play his last game in St. Louis on Friday and his final NHL game in Nashville on Saturday.
"I have been privileged to have a long career in this terrific league and play for first class organizations," said Tkachuk in a media release. "My thanks go out to my current and former teammates, the St. Louis Blues, Phoenix Coyotes/Winnipeg Jets and Atlanta Thrashers organizations and most of all to my parents, my wife Chantal, my kids Matthew, Braeden and Taryn along with all of my other family members for all of the support they have given me throughout my career."
"Keith is a true warrior who had an excellent career and I was hoping this day would never come," said Blues President of Hockey Operations John Davidson.
Tkachuk was originally drafted 19th overall by the Winnipeg Jets in the first round of the in 1990 NHL Entry Draft. He broke into the league as an 18-year-old during the 1991-92 season, playing 17 games and putting up three goals and five assists.
The Melrose, MA. native played the entire season in 1992-93 and gave a glimpse of what was to come with a solid campaign (28 goals, 23 assists and 201 penalty minutes over 83 games), but it was the next season that really established him as one of the NHL's top young power forwards.
Tkachuk racked up 81 points in 1993-94, passing the forty-goal plateau for the first time in his career with 41 tallies. He would repeat the task three more times, scoring 50 in 1995-96, 52 in 1996-97 and 40 in 1997-98 (done in only 69 games).
He played in 89 career playoff games, scoring 28 goals and 28 assists.
The 38-year-old has 538 career goals, with 525 assists and 2,219 penalty minutes over his 1,200 career NHL games for the Jets, Phoenix Coyotes, St. Louis Blues and Atlanta Thrashers. In addition, he played in five All-Star games and four Winter Olympics, helping the United States to a silver medal in 2002 at the Salt Lake games.