It’s the second time in as many days that the Blues have had a veteran player hang up his skates. On Wednesday, it was Scott Nichol at age 38, today, it was Andy McDonald who was calling it quits at age 37.
All in all, the Blues actually have lost three forwards in two days. Apart from the Nichol news on Wednesday, the team found out that prospect Jori Lehtera would be remaining in the Kontinental Hockey League. The Blues could potentially have to make a move to help make up for the losses.
McDonald and Nichol's reasons for retiring were completely different. Nichol felt if he wanted to stay around the game, he needed to take a front office job, and he did so with the Nashville Predators. For McDonald, it was a health concern.
McDonald has battled multiple concussions throughout his 12-year National Hockey League career, and he has been feeling their long-last effects. This past season was the first time in a while that McDonald had been able to remain concussion-free for an entire season. The risk became too much for McDonald to take, so he made the decision he thought best for he and his family.
McDonald has spent the last six seasons with the Blues after being acquired in 2007 in a blockbuster trade that brought McDonald to St. Louis and sent Doug Weight to Anaheim. The move paid off for the Blues.
McDonald had 90 goals and 230 points in 294 games as a Blue. His best season wearing the Note was in 2009-10 where McDonald had 57 points (24 goals, 33 assists). But because of health issues over the years, McDonald played fewer than 60 games in five of his six seasons with the Blues. This past season, McDonald had seven goals, 21 points in 37 games. McDonald won the Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2007, one of his many accomplishments in his career.
While part of the reason McDonald retired was his health, he also had serious doubts about whether he would return to the Blues. All signs pointed to the Blues moving on without McDonald. It was rumored that McDonald may have interest in returning to Anaheim, but McDonald’s first choice would have been St. Louis. McDonald’s four-year, $18.8 million contract expired after this season. The Blues likely weren’t going to resign the veteran and he would have become an unrestricted free agent later this month.
Surprisingly, McDonald was never drafted, and broke into the league as a free agent in the 2000-01 season with Anaheim. McDonald spent four seasons playing at Colgate University and being overlooked in the NHL draft before being signed by the Ducks. The Ducks and the Blues were the only NHL teams McDonald played for during his 12-year NHL career.
McDonald finishes his career with 489 points (182 goals, 307 assists) in 685 career NHL games played.