MONTREAL - Former Montreal Canadiens captain Saku Koivu has announced his retirement.

Koivu, 39, played for Montreal from 1995 through 2009 and was captain from 1999 on.

During his time with the Habs, the Finnish forward was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and missed almost all of the 2001-02 season before making an emotional return.

Koivu spent the past five seasons with the Anaheim Ducks, who decided not to bring him back this off-season.

In 1,124 career NHL games after a few years playing in Finland's SM-Liiga, Koivu recorded 255 goals and 577 assists for 832 points.

"Looking back at my 22 years of pro hockey first in Finland and then in the NHL I feel truly blessed and fulfilled," he said in a statement released by the NHL Players' Association. "I have been contemplating retirement for quite some time and am very confident in my decision at this time and place."