The New York Islanders announced on Wednesday that defenseman Johnny Boychuk‘s career is over due to an eye injury that he suffered during the 2019-20 season.
The Islanders said in a statement that he reached that decision following numerous and extensive medical exams.
Boychuk was injured just before the regular season went on pause in early March when he was hit by the skate blade of Montreal Canadiens forward Artturi Lehkonen.
He briefly returned during the NHL’s Return To Play over the summer, appearing in three postseason games. He was injured in their first playoff game against Florida after taking a hit to the head and did not return until the Eastern Conference Final a month-and-a-half later.
Boychuk said on Wednesday that it was after he left the NHL’s bubble and started to workout that he realized something was really wrong with his eye.
He also said that it was not really a decision to stop playing, but “a life choice.”
The 36-year-old Boychuk still has two years remaining on his contract that carries a salary cap hit of $6 million per season. Because of that this is not officially going to go into the books as a “retirement,” with the Islanders either using the LTIR list or trading his contract to another team.
Boychuk spent the past six seasons as a member of the Islanders after being acquired in an early season 2014 trade with the Boston Bruins.
For his career Boychuk played 725 regular season games with the Colorado Avalanche, Bruins, and Islanders, scoring 54 goals and recording 206 total points.
He won a Stanley Cup as a member of the 2010-11 Bruins.