The 40-year-old defenceman hasn’t played since the 2013-2014 season and had been suffering from a wrist injury, so he decided it was time to call it quits for good. The Finnish publication Ilta-Sanomat covered his retirement announcement on Thursday.
The 40-year-old had wrist surgery last October after playing 71 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2013-2014 season. He finished with 17 points.
In 878 career regular season games, Salo had 99 goals and 339 points. He was drafted in 1998-1999 by the Ottawa Senators and spent four seasons there before landing in Vancouver with the Canucks. Salo spent most of his career in Vancouver and he became a fixture there for nine seasons before moving on to Tampa for his final two seasons.
“He was the most underrated player the Canucks have ever seen. Tough as nails, so likeable, so good,” Canucks president Trevor Linden said Thursday on TSN Radio 1040.
Salo was also known for his booming point shot, which came in handy several times throughout his career. He would set up on the power play and crack the puck in, bulging the twine or setting up a rebound goal for a teammate. He captured numerous “hardest shot” awards during the Canucks’ SuperSkills competitions, with one shot clocking it at 163.5 kilometres an hour.
Salo’s best season came in 2006-2007 when he scored 14 goals for a total of 37 points.
Alas, injuries were frequently an issue for Salo and that sometimes led to legends developing on their very own. Some Vancouver fans are familiar with “that chant” or the fact that he was actually bit by a venomous snake one summer in Finland. That kind of thing will do something to a man’s reputation.
Linden says the plan for Salo now is to move back to Vancouver with his family. There has been some talk of a role on the Canucks, but time will tell if that materializes.