Andy McDonald has played his final game in the NHL. According to Andy Strickland, McDonald is hanging up his skates due to post-concussion concerns. The veteran forward has suffered numerous concussions throughout his career and it appears he's now ready to call it quits over concerns that one more hit might have serious implications on his life after hockey.
Very few people expected McDonald would be back with the Blues next season, but the announcement of his retirement certainly caught most by surprise. Despite declining talent and an increasing age (McDonald is 35), it was fully expected that a team would offer him a new contract after his most recent four-year, $18.8 million deal with the Blues expired.
At the very least this helps explain why McDonald looked drastically different at times during the 2013 season. His performance in the playoffs was dreadful. The news that McDonald was always focusing on another potential injury and worrying about the next big hit explains why he looked like a shell of the player we watched in 2011-12 and 2010-11.
As far as the Blues are concerned this doesn't change things. The odds of the team giving McDonald a new deal after his performance in the playoffs were slim to none. Barring a major discount, the Blues were planning to move ahead without McDonald in their ranks.
With the recent retirement announcements from Scott Nichol and now McDonald, the Blues are suddenly lacking veteran experience. This might be addressed through Jamie Langenbrunner if the veteran proves he still has something left in the tank, but it might be an area the Blues look to address through free agency.
McDonald skated in 685 NHL games, scoring 182 goals and 307 assists (489 points). He spent the better part of the past six seasons in St. Louis after coming over in a trade from the Anaheim Ducks during the 2007-08 season. While he never hoisted the Stanley Cup in St. Louis, McDonald retires a champion due to the fact he won the sport's ultimate prize with the Ducks in 2007.