The decision came after a medical condition related to blood clots made it detrimental to his health to continue playing the game. Dupuis felt chest pain during a December 1 game against the San Jose Sharks. While he was eventually cleared to play again when the Penguins faced a back-to-back against the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks, the 36-year-old from Laval had already put retirement on the table.
“We’ve been talking about it for a little while on this road trip, since the San Jose game. It made it more clear in my head that it was weighing on me, my wife, kids, my teammates,” Dupuis said. “One hundred percent, it was definitely all about [my family]. If all this was on me or if I’d taken a selfish approach to this, I’d probably still be playing.”
Dupuis had been diagnosed with blood clots in January of 2014 after sustaining torn ligaments in his knee. He missed the remainder of the 2014-2015 season after discovering a blood clot in his lung in November. He had been play this season on blood thinners.
The Penguins will put Dupuis on the long-term injured reserve list and will continue to pay out his salary. He has a year to go on his four-year contract with an average annual value of $3.75 million.
“My wife and four children have always been my first priority, and playing with my condition has become a constant worry for all of us,” said Dupuis. “I want to thank my teammates and the Penguins organization for their unwavering support during this difficult time.”
Dupuis was one of the NHL’s undrafted success stories. He debuted with the Minnesota Wild in 2001, scoring a goal in his first game and spending four-plus seasons there. He had 48 points during the 2002-2003 season and helped the Wild reach the Western Conference Final.
In the 2006-2007 season, he was traded twice. He went from Minnesota to the Rangers and from the Rangers to the Atlanta Thrashers. After 79 games in Atlanta, he was traded again and this time he landed in Pittsburgh. He found the right fit with the Penguins, often skating with Sidney Crosby and playing the best hockey of his career.
“We’re going to miss him a lot,” Crosby said. “He’s a great guy, great teammate. I know he’ll have a hard time staying away from the rink, so hopefully we’ll see lots of him.”
In 871 career regular season games, Dupuis registered 409 points including 190 goals. He also had 44 points in 97 playoff games.