Briere suited up for the Phoenix Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres, Philadelphia Flyers, Montreal Canadiens, and Colorado Avalanche. He was drafted in 1996 by the Coyotes, selected in the first round and spending parts of six seasons in the desert before landing in Buffalo during the 2002-2003 season.
Briere played some of his best hockey with the Sabres, posting a 95-point year in 2006-2007. He scored two hat tricks that season and was voted a starter in his first All-Star Game, recording five points in the contest. Briere went on to add 15 points in the post-season, but the Sabres were eventually eliminated from the playoffs by the Ottawa Senators.
The Flyers signed Briere as an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2007, inking him to an eight year deal worth $52 million. It was a front-loaded deal and it made him the highest-paid player in the NHL in 2007-2008. Briere had decent years with the Flyers, scoring 72 points in 79 games in his debut season and leading Philadelphia out of the league’s basement.
Injuries became a problem in the 2008-2009 season, but he eventually bounced back to form by the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Briere led the post-season in scoring with 30 points, breaking the record for playoff points by a Flyer (Brian Propp held the previous record with 28 points in 1987) and scoring a dozen points in the Stanley Cup Final alone.
By June of 2013, however, things had soured with the Flyers and Briere was given a compliance buyout on his contract. He signed a two year deal with the Canadiens in July of 2013 and was concussed in October of that year, sidelining him for nearly a month of action. By June of 2014, he was traded to Colorado. He was not re-signed, which leads us to his retirement announcement.
“This is not a decision that can be taken lightly. I’ve been thinking about it for weeks,” Briere wrote in a story that appeared in the Le Droit newspaper in Gatineau. “In fact, I first began bouncing the idea around in my head last winter, when I was in Colorado. I felt far away from my children, who stayed in Philadelphia. It wasn’t really an easy situation for me.”
There has been some talk of a role with the Flyers’ organization, too, but nothing is set in stone at this point.
Danny Briere had a terrific career by most standards. There will always be those who will judge him (or any player) by a lack of Stanley Cups or other all-or-nothing metrics, but Briere has an awful lot to be proud of.